Elizabeth Warren has insisted repeatedly that she’s not running for president in 2016. But that’s not stopping conservatives from trying to use her imagined candidacy to incite the base into handing over cash to fight the Massachusetts senator.
America Rising, the super PAC that has largely focused on undermining a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy, sent an email titled “Warren Warning” to supporters Thursday evening asking for contributions to help thwart the popular Democrat. “Don’t let the White House fall into Warren’s hands,” it cautions. “America can’t afford to let that happen."
The group said it would also send video trackers to Warren’s events across the country, in order to catch her in a gaffe or larger mistake that might undermine her potential candidacy. A spokeswoman for Warren did not immediately return requests for comment.
But while Clinton, the former secretary of state, is clearly seriously mulling a bid, Warren – seen as a progressive bogeywoman by the right -- has consistently nixed the idea. The freshman senator elected in 2012 has pledged to serve out her term and says she wants to focus on her job and on supporting Democratic candidates running for the 2014 midterm elections.
"I am not running for president," she told the Boston Globe on June 30. "Do you want to put an exclamation point at the end of that?" Most analysts agree -- while liberal voters across the country might really want a Warren candidacy, it is extremely unlikely in 2016. That didn't stop Warren supporters in Detroit screaming"Run Liz Run!” before she delivered a keynote address to Netroots Nation, a gathering of progressive activists from across the U.S.
America Rising’s fundraising initiative comes on the heels of a group of Warren supporters forming a “Ready For Warren” campaign to encourage her to run. Warren’s press secretary told msnbc earlier this week that the senator “does not support this effort.”
Still, Tim Miller, the executive director for America Rising, told msnbc that “Elizabeth Warren would absolutely be a formidable challenger to Hillary Clinton from the left."
Miller pointed to Warren’s recent campaigning on behalf of Democrats like West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant and Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lindergan Grimes.
“She is clearly trying to position herself as a leader in the party and an influencer in the national debate … Our job is to make sure anyone who fills that profile is held accountable.” Miller said, adding the fundraising response, so far, has been "positive."
Miller also seemed to pit Warren against Clinton Friday, tweeting, "Warren—lobbyists are the worst; Hillary—lobbyists are real people” along with a link to an America Rising video highlighting their differing remarks about lobbyists.
In the video, a clip of Warren's remarks at the Netroots conference is played. “Billionaires pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries. How does this happen? It happens because they all have lobbyists,” says Warren. That clip is then contrasted with one from 2007, in which Clinton defends lobbyists.
Clinton is asked at the same conference—then called the YearlyKos Convention -- if she will continue to take money from lobbyists. “You know, I will. A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans," the former first lady says.
Clinton, at the time, was responding to a challenge from other Democrats to stop taking cash from federal lobbyists. Clinton, at the time, added: “They represent nurses they represent social workers, yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people…I don’t think, based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in, I don’t think anybody seriously believes I’m going to be influenced by a lobbyist.”
No other conservative PACs are fundraising off of a potential 2016 Warren bid so far. But Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for American Crossroads, said while there is nothing planned at the moment, “If she does decide to run, we’d certainly be right there making sure she’s held accountable for her record.”