- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2018

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced Monday she is forming a 2020 presidential exploratory committee, becoming the highest-profile Democrat to take that formal step toward challenging President Trump.

The Massachusetts senator, who won re-election last month, had vowed to voters during that campaign she would serve her six-year term, but analysts had put little stock in that promise and her decision Monday confirmed her higher ambitions.

“I’ve spent my career getting to the bottom of why America’s promise has worked for some families, but others who work just as hard slip into the cracks of disaster,” she said in a four-minute video announcing the move.

An exploratory committee, also known as a “testing the waters” committee, lets a potential candidate do some fundraising for purposes such as travel and polling in order to gauge the viability of an actual run.

In a fundraising email Monday, Ms. Warren insisted running for president — or any office — was never “on my bucket list, my shopping list, or any other list.” But she said she drafted herself after seeing a broken Washington “bought and paid for by a bunch of billionaires and giant corporations.”

“It’s corruption, pure and simple,” she said.

She said she’ll lay out a campaign plan early in the new year.

Ms. Warren, a former Harvard professor, has been a champion for progressive activists for years, providing intellectual heft for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was one of Democrats’ ideas to try to control Wall Street after the 2008 financial collapse.

She had hoped to be the first CFPB director but it was clear she would have been filibustered by Senate Republicans, so she ran for the Senate in 2012, unseating GOP Sen. Scott Brown to win the seat once held by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

In the Senate she has been a closely watched liberal vote, though her actual legislative record remains thin.

Still, she energizes the party’s left-leaning activists.

“Progressives are tired of having to push Democrats to do the right thing. You don’t have to guess where Elizabeth Warren stands — or will stand in the future,” Stephanie Taylor and Adam Green, co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement cheering Ms. Warren on.

Charles Chamberlain, executive director for Democracy for America, also celebrated Ms. Warren’s announcement, saying he believes she will focus on a populist vision for the country.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s formal entrance into the 2020 race for president today helps launch what we believe will be a vibrant discussion of bold, inclusive populist ideas in the Democratic primary, and we look forward to the wide array of progressive candidates that we expect to join her,” he said.

Ms. Warren joins former Obama Cabinet official Julian Castro in having formed an exploratory committee.

They’re the furthest along of the major potential candidates in what could be the largest primary field in U.S. history. A former vice president, a former attorney general, a former first lady and secretary of state, a couple of billionaires, several governors and more than a dozen members of Congress are eyeing the race.

Mr. Trump has mocked Ms. Warren mercilessly over the years, nicknaming her “Pocahontas” because she has claimed American Indian heritage. She released results of a DNA test in October showing she had Indian ancestors roughly six to 10 generations ago.

During an interview for Fox News Channel’s “All American New Year” broadcast, Mr. Trump welcomed Ms. Warren as a potential challenger in 2020.

“She did very badly in proving that she was of Indian heritage. That didn’t work out too well … I wish her well, I hope she does well, I’d love to run against her,” the president said.

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