BOSTON (CBS/CNN) – Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced Monday she is launching an exploratory committee for president in 2020.
Warren released a statement and a campaign-style video in an email to supporters formally declaring her intentions.
The senior Democratic senator for Massachusetts has been considered a potential front-runner in the 2020 race for the White House. In September, Warren said publicly for the first time that she would “take a hard look at running for president.”
“I’ll announce a plan early in the new year. But there’s one thing I do know: I can’t do this alone,” she said in the statement Monday. “I’ve spent my career standing up to big banks and powerful corporations, and I didn’t stop when I got to the United States Senate. I don’t have binders full of bankers and CEOs to call for ginormous checks to launch this committee – in fact, most of them aren’t going to like what I’m doing and will probably spend their money somewhere else. That’s ok by me.”
Warren addressed reporters outside her Cambridge home Monday afternoon.
“I never thought I would run for anything ever in my life. But America’s middle class is getting hollowed out. And opportunities for too many of our young people is shrinking. So I’m in this fight all the way,” Warren said.
“Right now Washington works great for the wealthy and the well-connected. It’s just not working for anyone else. But I am optimistic. I believe in what we can do together. I am going to build a grassroots campaign. It’s already got people from all across this country who are going to be part of it, and together we are going to make change.”
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Warren, 69, is the first U.S. Senator to take official steps to begin a 2020 presidential campaign. Her announcement signals she’s serious about running. Warren already has dozens of staffers on her team and about $12 million that she can transfer from her Senate campaign account. President Trump has $35 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.
“It allows her now to essentially start raising money to pay for the dozens of staffers, to pay for travel to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, places we expect her to go in the coming days,” said CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe.
Elizabeth Warren Addresses 2020 Plans
The Republican National Committee ridiculed Warren’s announcement Monday.
“Senator Warren couldn’t be more out of touch,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “With her lack of support from voters – including in her home state – on top of her phony claim to minority status, now that she is formally running Americans will see her for what she is: another extreme far-left obstructionist and a total fraud.”
In an interview with Fox News Monday night, President Donald Trump said he’d “love to run against” Sen. Warren. “We’ll see how she does, I wish her well,” Trump said in the interview. “I hope she does well. I’d love to run against her.”
An Oklahoma native, Warren went on to become a Harvard Law professor and former President Barack Obama nominated her to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she helped create in 2010. But Obama later withdrew his nomination of Warren, a fierce critic of Wall Street financial institutions, when it appeared she would not be able to win Senate confirmation to the post.
In 2011, Warren decided to run for Senate in Massachusetts. She easily won the Democratic nomination and defeated Sen. Scott Brown in November 2012. She won re-election in 2018 with over 60 percent of the vote.
During the 2018 Senate race, her opponent, State Rep. Geoff Diehl, warned that her higher aspirations would short Massachusetts voters. “Unfortunately we have got a senator that is going to be out of our state for at least two years making a run that will ultimately be not bearing any fruit,” Diehl said Monday night.
Warren has traded insults with President Trump since he was a candidate in the 2016 election. She has called the president sexist and a “thin-skinned, racist bully” while he has frequently labeled her “Pocahontas.”
The derisive nickname references the controversy over Warren’s claims of Native American heritage. Warren has said that a great-great-great-grandmother was at least partially Native American. Critics have accused Warren of using claims about her ancestry to get ahead, but Harvard has denied that race was a factor in her hiring.
In October, Warren released a DNA test reportedly showing that a Native American relative appears in her family tree 6 to 10 generations ago. So far, the test has not silenced critics and the Cherokee Nation has called using DNA tests to lay claim to Native American heritage “inappropriate and wrong.”
When asked Monday if she wishes she would have handled the release of her DNA test any differently, Warren told reporters she has been open about the results.
“I have put it all out there. It’s there for anyone to see,” she said. “But at the end of the day what this is going to be about, this election going forward, is the tens of millions of families across this country who work hard, who play by the rules, and who just time after time take one body blow after another.”
“I want to see an America that works, not just for some people, but an America that works for all of us. That’s why I’m in it,” Warren added.
In the Senate, Warren serves on the committees on banking, health, aging and the armed services.
Below are more facts about Warren and a timeline of her life via CNN:
Birth date: June 22, 1949
Birth place: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Birth name: Elizabeth Ann Herring
Father: Donald Herring, salesman and maintenance man
Mother: Pauline (Reed) Herring, department store worker
Marriages: Bruce Mann (July 12, 1980-present); Jim Warren (1968-1980, divorced)
Children: with Jim Warren: Alex, 1976; Amelia, 1971
Education: Attended George Washington University, 1966-1968; University of Houston, B.S. Speech Pathology and Audiology, 1970; Rutgers University, J.D., 1976
She was a state high school champion in debate.
Before the mid-1990s, Warren was a registered Republican.
Warren is an expert on bankruptcy law and was an adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission in the 1990s.
Warren has co-authored two books with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke” and “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.”
During Warren’s 2012 Senate race, a controversy erupted over Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry. Warren listed herself as a minority in a directory of law teachers from 1986-1995, based on, she says, stories of her family’s Cherokee heritage. Opponent Scott Brown claimed she did this to advance her career.
According to Congressional disclosure reports, Warren’s net worth is between $3.7 million and $10 million.
1966-1968 – Warren attends George Washington University on a debate scholarship. She drops out after two years to get married.
Early 1970s – After graduating from college, Warren works as a speech pathologist at a New Jersey elementary school.
1977-1978 – Law lecturer at Rutgers School of Law.
1978-1983 – Assistant, and later associate professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
1983-1987 – Professor of law at the University of Texas Law School in Austin.
1987-1995 – Law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
1989 – Warren, along with co-authors Teresa Sullivan and Jay Westbrook, publishes her first book, “As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America.”
1992-1993 – Visiting professor at Harvard Law School.
1995-2012 – Professor at Harvard Law School.
2007 – Warren writes an article outlining her idea for a federal agency designed to protect consumers from fraudulent or misleading financial products, like mortgages and credit cards.
November 14, 2008 – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appoints Warren to a Congressional oversight panel overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program.
September 17, 2010 – U.S. President Barack Obama appoints Warren as assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury secretary in order to launch the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
July 2011 – Due to opposition from Republicans and some Democrats, Obama declines to nominate Warren as permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
August 1, 2011 – Warren steps down as a special adviser to Obama.
September 14, 2011 – Warren announces she’s running for Senate in Massachusetts.
September 5, 2012 – Warren speaks at the Democratic National Convention.
November 6, 2012 – Wins the race for Senate in Massachusetts, defeating incumbent Scott Brown.
April 22, 2014 – Warren’s memoir, “A Fighting Chance,” is published.
November 13, 2014 – Reid taps Warren to join his leadership team.
December 15, 2014 – In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Warren repeats four times that she is not running for president in 2016.
June 2, 2015 – Warren writes a scathing letter to Mary Jo White, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), saying “I am disappointed by the significant gap between the promises you made during and shortly after your confirmation and your performance as SEC Chair.” In a statement released in 2013, Warren said that “the SEC needs to be a tough watchdog for the American people.”
February 7, 2017 – During a debate on the nomination of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. Senate Republicans vote to rebuke Warren as she reads a letter that Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986 criticizing Sessions.
April 18, 2017 – Her book “This Fight Is Our Fight” is published.
June 5, 2017 – FCTRY, a Brooklyn-based product design company, starts a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of Elizabeth Warren action figures, and surpasses its goal within hours. FCTRY says it wants to partner with Emily’s List, a non-profit that promotes getting pro-choice, Democratic women elected to office.
November 27, 2017 – At an event honoring Navajo code talkers, US President Donald Trump references Warren by the nickname he gave her, Pocahontas. In an interview with MSNBC Warren remarks, “It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur. Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he is going to shut me up with it. It hasn’t worked in the past, it isn’t going to work out in the future.”
October 15, 2018 – Warren releases results of a DNA test showing she has distant Native American ancestry, with analysis performed by Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford University and adviser to Ancestry and 23 and Me.
November 6, 2018 – Is re-elected for a second term in the U.S. Senate.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)