Elizabeth Warren’s New Role: Joe Biden’s Senior Policy Advisor

Joe Biden accused Elizabeth Warren last year for holding an “angry and inflexible point of view”. She embraced that label and called Biden “naive” for thinking he could work with Republicans as president. She warned Democrats against choosing a ‘Washington insider’ and pointedly refused to endorse Biden until weeks after exiting the race.

From now on, these fierce primary confrontations are only a distant memory.

Warren, a Massachusetts senator and progressive leader, has become an unlikely confidant and adviser to Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. They speak about every 10 days, according to aides to the two politicians who spoke on condition of anonymity to freely describe their relationship. These forums gave Warren a chance to pitch major policy issues to Biden, who ran a more centrist primary campaign.

He embraced Warren-endorsed plans for personal bankruptcy, expanding Social Security benefits, and canceling student loan debt for millions of Americans. She also helped design significant parts of his post-pandemic economic recovery proposals.

Warren, meanwhile, lends Biden his progressive credentials and frequently hosts campaign events for him, including a recent fundraiser that brought in $6 million. Only former President Barack Obama got bigger loot.

Defeated presidential candidates are often called upon to rally around the candidate, especially if they want to become vice president, a role Warren has expressed an interest in. But Warren and Biden’s relationship is remarkable considering they’ve never been particularly close before. It also illustrates a more pragmatic side to Warren, whose presidential campaign was built around economic populism that championed ordinary Americans at the expense of the wealthy with the slogan “Dream Big. Fight hard.”

“She is interested in problem solving. It’s more practical than it sometimes seemed during the campaign,” said Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor who briefly ran for president himself. “She fights for the outcome, but because she’s so smart and so creative, she can think of more than one way to get there.”

Biden has promised to choose a woman as vice president and has been pressured by African American activists to choose a black running mate in recognition of their political prominence and in response to institutional racism. Warren, who is white, however remains finalist.

Even if Warren is not chosen, she could easily take on the role of Treasury Secretary or lead the Federal Reserve, where Chairman Jerome Powell’s term ends in 2022. This would ensure that Warren continues to be an important voice in a Biden administration.

Adam Green, a close Warren ally and co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee advocacy group, said the health and economic fallout from the coronavirus has made the policies she championed as a presidential candidate more vital. than ever. He said his strength was “pulling and pushing the levers of power to maximize big results”, no matter “what hand it happens to be dealt at the time”.

Warren demonstrated that adaptability with other rivals in the primary, incorporating into his campaign key elements of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate plan, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s family leave proposal and efforts California Senator Kamala Harris to promote abortion rights after all. had left the presidential race. She also formed a close friendship with former Obama administration official Julián Castro, who later campaigned nationwide on her behalf.

However, these were not all feel-good moments. Warren feuded with former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and his searing attack on Mike Bloomberg during the Las Vegas debate marked the beginning of the end for the former mayor’s once-promising candidacy. New York at the White House.

Indeed, it was a perceived advantage that made Warren a star on the left long before she ran for president. Ironically, a clash with then-Sen. Biden during a 2005 congressional hearing on a bankruptcy law was the first time many Americans had laid eyes on Warren, who was teaching law at Harvard University at the time. It ended with him conceding, “You’re a very good teacher, teacher.”

Warren then engineered a watchdog group that became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and, while its creation was still being debated in Congress in 2010, suggested that a watered down version was unacceptable. Warren said then that she would rather have “no agency at all and a lot of blood and teeth on the floor”. After the agency’s founding, Warren’s polarizing nature became apparent when the Obama administration dropped her to become its first full-time director, fearing a battle in the Senate.

While running for the Senate herself in 2012, Warren clashed with popular Republican incumbent Scott Brown, who attempted to use the “blood and teeth” quote against her.

“He’s not someone who’s willing to be flexible and compromise on anything,” said Colin Reed, a veteran of Brown’s 2012 campaign. He said now Warren has been “helpful to a guy who in a past life she had been pretty dismissive” to Biden.

“His presidential campaign didn’t go particularly well,” Reed said. “I don’t know if that’s her saying, ‘For my next political act, I have to offer something new. “”

A spokesperson for Warren declined to comment for this story, and Biden’s campaign declined to speak publicly about its running mate selection process. But Warren has recently become a visible face in the Biden campaign.

At a recent virtual event aimed at appealing to young voters, she opened up about her aversion to coffee while laughing at her own reputation for being extremely energetic: “Can you imagine me on caffeine?” Warren also showed off his golden retriever, Bailey, who was a staple in his own presidential campaign, declaring “Bailey for Biden.”

At the virtual fundraiser she hosted for Biden last month, Warren described how the former vice president called after her older brother died from coronavirus “when I needed kindness and comfort. “. The moment was so intimate — despite coming via videoconference — that Biden responded by calling her “Elizabeth” before catching up and returning to the “Sen. Warren.”

“We are so lucky to have you on the front line,” Biden said.

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