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Elizabeth Warren: 'We have a chance but we have to fight for it'

The populist Democratic senator diverted some attention away from Hillary Clinton, who was also in Manhattan for an event of her own.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 12, 2013.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 12, 2013.

Elizabeth Warren on Monday made a powerful plea for Democratic women to win elections in 2014. 

The Democratic Massachusetts senator -- speaking to approximately 300 donors and supporters of Emily’s List, a political action committee that has a mission to elect pro-choice, Democratic women to office – noted that 2012 had ushered her into office along with a historic number of other women lawmakers.  But, Warren said, voters must sustain that momentum, starting with the midterm elections, just six weeks away. 

“It now means that we have a seat at the table,” Warren said in New York City at the swanky Mandarin Oriental Hotel. “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu,” she joked. But the lawmaker quickly added that “Washington works for those who have power. And no one gives up power easily, no one … Nobody’s just going to say ‘women have arrived and let’s just move over’ … We have a chance but we have to fight for it.”

Warren has proved to be a major fundraising draw on the campaign trail, helping to rake in money for candidates in Ohio, Kentucky, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon and more this year. Attendees on Monday forked over a minimum of $250 to attend the luncheon event.

Many of Warren’s supporters are still urging her to make a bid for the Oval Office in 2016 (and provide a more progressive alternative to likely candidate Hillary Clinton). But Warren has repeatedly insisted she’s not running, even disavowing the group Ready for Warren that is urging her to jump in.  

Still, Warren did manage to divert some attention away from Clinton on Monday. The former secretary of state was also in Manhattan, speaking at the same time as Warren on behalf of her Clinton Global Initiative.

Warren made no mention of the 2016 contest at the event. But several others there did -- in reference to Clinton.

“We sure hope that Secretary Clinton takes the time she needs [to make a decision]. But we also hope that she takes this on because we are ready,” said Emily’s List president Stephanie Schirock in her remarks before introducing Warren to the stage.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who also spoke, said of Clinton, “I think Madam President sounds really, really good.”

Over the weekend, Bill Clinton – who has been tight-lipped about his wife’s potential run—did weigh in on Warren. The former president was asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria if he believes Warren is the “future of the Democratic Party.”

Bill Clinton said, "I think she's an important part of it ... You had to have more broad-based prosperity. So, I think anybody who’s arguing for that is going to find a receptive ear in the American electorate, not just among Democrats. “

That was a message Warren hammered home in New York, insisting Democrats—particularly women—have a chance to build an America “that treats women like full and equal citizens and who have a chance to earn the same money that the guy down the hall earns for doing the same … No one should steal your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.”

She also urged supporters to stand up against “radical Republican policies, anti-women policies” and to fight for vulnerable women facing re-election this year, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.  She also urged support for Democratic women running in Kentucky and Georgia.

”We are fighting so we can say goodbye to Mitch McConnell and hello to Alison Lundergan Grimes," Warren said. We are fighting for the chance to welcome Michelle Nunn to the United States Senate,” she said to cheers in the audience.