‘That’s where their politics were all along’: Elizabeth Warren responds to former 2020 rivals endorsing Joe Biden

The Massachusetts senator says it would be a "big risk" to nominate the former vice president.

Cambridge, MA - 03/30/20 -  Senator and candidate for the Democratic nomination for President, Elizabeth Warren, walks from her Cambridge home to her local polling place along Linnaean Street, surrounded by throngs of cheering supporters.  (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter:  ()  Topic: ()
Sen. Elizabeth Warren walks from her home in Cambridge to her local polling place to vote Tuesday. –Lane Turner / The Boston Globe

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she isn’t surprised that several former Democratic presidential primary opponents lined up behind Joe Biden’s campaign on Monday.

“I think that’s where their politics were all along,” the Massachusetts senator told reporters Tuesday morning, after voting at her local polling place in Cambridge, when asked about Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke endorsing the former vice president.

“I don’t think there’s anything surprising here,” she added.

Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and O’Rourke weren’t Biden’s only new endorsers; his campaign also received the official support Monday of Democratic establishment figures, including Vicki Kennedy — the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose seat Warren currently holds — and Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader who reportedly once urged Warren to consider running for president in 2020.

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In a winnowed race led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden’s supporters argue that a more moderate candidate would be best equipped to defeat Republican President Donald Trump in a general election.

Warren disagrees. In the wake of her former rivals endorsing Biden, the Cambridge Democrat reiterated her recent argument that the progressive populist ideas on which she and Sanders are running have broad appeal.

“People across this country see big problems, and they don’t want somebody to nibble around the edges,” Warren said Tuesday. “They want big solutions.”

While only a small fraction of primary delegates have been awarded through the first four contests, Warren currently trails Biden and Sanders in the race and has been in a battle to even win her home state Tuesday — though it’s unclear how the abrupt departures of Buttigieg and Klobuchar will affect the state of play.

In a speech Monday night in Los Angeles, Warren thanked Buttigieg and Klobuchar for “running spirited races,” but said it would be a “big risk” to nominate Biden, the former Delaware senator and longtime Washington, D.C., fixture, to take on Trump.

“No matter how many Washington insiders tell you to support him, nominating their fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment,” she said. “Nominating a man who says we do not need any fundamental change in this country will not meet this moment. Nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and our country.”

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Warren has also tried cast herself as a more effective alternative to Sanders; in the most recent debate, she pointed to her record setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and support for eliminating the Senate filibuster as evidence that she could enact the ambitious proposal they both largely support. In her Los Angeles speech, Warren argued she could “both do the work to transform our government from the inside and … bring pressure to bear on government by leading a grassroots movement from the outside.”

“From the start of this campaign, despite so many great candidates with so many different perspectives, voters who were worried about beating Donald Trump have been told there are only two lanes, only two choices,” Warren said. “And now we find ourselves barreling toward another primary along the same lanes as 2016: one for an insider, one for an outsider. Democratic voters should have more choice than that.”

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