This isn't particularly surprising for anybody who follows either of these remarkable ladies in the news, but both the New York Times and CNN are reporting that former Secretary of State and potential presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has been actively soliciting the input of senior Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
From the New York Times:
Hillary Rodham Clinton held a private, one-on-one meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren in December at Mrs. Clinton’s Washington home, a move by the Democrats’ leading contender in 2016 to cultivate the increasingly influential senator and leader of the party’s economic populist movement.
The two met at Whitehaven, the Clintons’ Northwest Washington home, without aides and at Mrs. Clinton’s invitation.
Mrs. Clinton solicited policy ideas and suggestions from Ms. Warren, according to a Democrat briefed on the meeting, who called it “cordial and productive.” Mrs. Clinton, who has been seeking advice from a range of scholars, advocates and officials, did not ask Ms. Warren to consider endorsing her likely presidential candidacy.CNN reports that this in-person meeting is not the first time they've been in contact:
Clinton has reached out to the Massachusetts senator "several times" over the past six months, a source with knowledge of Clinton's plans told CNN on Tuesday, a sign of how important Warren's wing of the Democratic party is to the foundation of a would-be presidential bid for the former secretary of state.
The two met privately at the former secretary of state's Washington, D.C. home in December, according to the source, and have talked on the phone, as well. The New York Times first reported the December meeting on Tuesday.
"Secretary Clinton really values Senator Warren and has reached out several times over the past six months," the source added.In the long public life of Secretary Clinton, perception of her leftist credentials have moved back and forth, despite a record that is far more liberal than her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Working with Warren is a reminder that her private speaking engagements and marriage to a centrist icon of the party are less indicative of her policy choices than her own history as a Senator, presidential candidate, and First Lady. From the Times:
The get-together represented a step toward relationship-building for two women who do not know each other well. And for Mrs. Clinton, it was a signal that she would prefer Ms. Warren’s counsel delivered in person, as a friendly insider, rather than on national television or in opinion articles. And for Ms. Warren, the meeting offered the opportunity to make clear what she believes are the most pressing national issues.
That Mrs. Clinton — who is currently developing her economic platform — reached out to Ms. Warren suggests that she is aware of how much the debate over economic issues has shifted even during the relatively short time she was away from domestic politics while serving as secretary of state.
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Mrs. Clinton was often criticized by the right as a doctrinaire liberal during her husband’s presidency and, as a presidential candidate, ultimately ran as more of an economic populist than Mr. Obama did. But she is now seen by some on the left as insufficiently tough on Wall Street. That perception, denounced by allies as an unfair criticism, has stuck in part because of her husband’s policies, and because of the lucrative speaking fees she has collected from financial firms and private equity groups since she left the State Department in early 2013.Hillary Clinton's unprecedented strength as a non-incumbent candidate provides her with the luxury of campaigning with the general election in mind before the primaries have even begun. Smartly, she appears to be taking the approach of appealing to the center and disaffected Republicans by focusing on economic populism, emphasizing what has historically made the Democrats a strong national party, without sacrificing the core progressive values on social issues that are simply non-negotiable, as they should be.
Senator Warren's strength as a leader on economic issues, coupled with her innate integrity which would never allow her to be associated with the Clinton campaign if her ideas weren't truly part of the conversation, make this potential allegiance an encouraging sign for the 2016 election, which will require a nationalization of core Democratic values to make the necessary gains in the Senate and the House for any Democratic presidency to be truly transformative beyond court appointments and executive action.