Warren targeted by former donor
Ed Rendell got his money’s worth.
The former Pennsylvania governor co-chaired a couple fundraisers for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2018 re-election bid, and also donated a total of $4,500 to her campaign.
While those sums hardly let Rendell call the shots, they add some crucial attention-grabbing heft to the Keystone State Democrat’s claim that Warren is now a hypocrite, as he wrote in the Washington Post. Warren benefitted from swanky fundraisers as a Senate candidate, Rendell argues, only to turn around and renounce the whole high-dollar fundraising enterprise in her presidential campaign while simultaneously transferring $10.4 million from the Senate account to her presidential account.
Rendell is now a Joe Biden supporter and still smarting over Warren’s description of a Philadelphia fundraiser that he helped organize five months ago for the former vice president. Biden has maintained a dominant but fluctuating lead in the polls since launching his presidential campaign in April. Meanwhile, Warren has gained momentum and, according to the Boston Globe’s James Pindell, put together an impressive operation in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, where she and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are competing for some of the same supporters.
Rendell wasn’t the only one doing some spadework ahead of the showdown in Houston. Some bank executives spoke to Fox Business correspondent Charles Gasparino, warning of the dire consequences of a Warren presidency. The piece in the New York Post has a funny format. It’s not until the writer has credited Warren with being “smart and driven” and possessing an “ability to define and distill complex financial issues” that he launches a broadside in which President Donald Trump counts among the collateral damage.
“Her wild spending and corporate-governance proposals (health care for all and more) will make the already massive Trump deficits look quaint (and could lead to higher interest rates),” Gasparino writes. “Making corporate boards answer to unions and employees, in addition to shareholders, would mean companies would be required to serve many masters.”
It sounds like Jim Cramer, Gasparino’s former colleague at CNBC, is hearing similar things from similar people. This week Cramer spent a few minutes on air fretting and channeling executives’ fears, at one point exclaiming “She’s gotta be stopped.”
Warren, at least outwardly, reveled in Cramer’s performance, joking on Twitter that it was like a campaign ad and “I approve this message.”
For someone whose campaign message is that the system is rigged in favor of the wealthy but she has a plan to change that, the senator could hardly ask for better foils. As an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found last month, the public is still angry at the notion that Wall Street executives are among the few who benefit from the political system. Blue chip executives have immense power, money, luxury, and influence, but there is a large deficit of sympathy for their plight.
Rendell, the spurned donor, might find himself in a similar place. He had a very clever vantage for attack, as someone who saw up close Warren’s old fundraising operation. But there is a possibility of backfire as well. Warren’s decision not to hold fundraisers during her presidential campaign might take a toll on her finances, but it will likely enhance her standing among voters. As Biden should have already learned, what plays well in a room full of donors, might take on new meaning when presented to the public at large.
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