Question to Elizabeth Warren over Hillary Clinton’s speech transcripts leads to tense exchange

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Elizabeth Warren pictured during a press conference in 2015. –Zach Gibson/The New York Times

The content of Hillary Clinton’s past paid speeches to Wall Street firms has become the issue du jour in the Democratic primary.

Despite calls from her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as The New York Times, for Clinton to release the transcripts of the speeches, the former secretary of state has steadfastly refused.

So why not ask Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has avoided inserting herself into her party’s primary, what she thinks of the issue?

In an interview Thursday regarding the recent Supreme Court nominee, CBS reporter Norah O’Donnell acknowledged Warren’s hands-off approach to the primary, but asked the senator about Clinton’s transcripts anyway.

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Video per RealClearPolitics:

“You know your lack of an endorsement at this stage has raised some questions. Let me ask you this — do you believe that Sen. Clinton should release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs?’’ O’Donnell asked.

Seen as one of Democrat’s leading voices on Wall Street policy, the Massachusetts Democrat deflected the question.

“I think that our candidates are out doing what they should do in a primary: They are debating the issues,’’ Warren said.

“You’re not answering my question, Senator,’’ O’Donnell cut in.

“What I’m doing is I’m telling you what I think should be going on right now in this election,’’ Warren said.

“It’s a yes or no question,’’ O’Donnell responded. “Should she release the transcripts or no.’’

But the reporter was not getting a yes or no answer from Warren.

“What I told you is that the primaries are doing exactly should be doing, and the candidates are being tested,’’ she said.

Pressed on the speeches, Clinton has said she would release her transcripts when every other candidate does the same. In turn, Sanders has said he would release his transcript, except that he hasn’t made any speeches to Wall Street.

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According to the Times, Clinton accepted $675,000 for three speeches to Goldman Sachs, and has earned $11 million for 51 speeches from 2014 through the first quarter of 2015.

Having made no progress on that front with Warren, the CBS This Morning roundtable turned to another topic the senator has worked to avoid: What would it take for her to endorse a Democratic candidate?

As in her previous responses to that question, Warren made no preference toward either candidate, but praised them both for talking about the issues.

“It makes it very distinct between what’s happen on our side and what’s happening on the other side,’’ Warren said, referring to the Republican candidates. “They’re doing some kind of reality show.’’

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