Skip to content

Elizabeth Warren’s History of Snubbing Hillary Clinton

The two campaigned together in Ohio Monday

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren makes her first campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton since the former secretary of state became the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren makes her first campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton since the former secretary of state became the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigned with Hillary Clinton in Cincinnati Monday, the latest chapter in the former secretary of State’s rocky relationship with the progressive favorite.  

Warren endorsed  Clinton after her primary contest against Sen. Bernie Sanders was largely decided. But there are still a number of progressives who wish Warren was the Democratic candidate.  

At the rally on Monday, Warren had glowing words for Clinton in between jabs at Donald Trump.  

“She has a good heart and that’s what America needs and that’s why I’m with her,” she told the crowd, after saying that “she has brains, she has guts.”  

But while Warren may have offered a fiery defense of Clinton Monday, she has at times given the presumptive Democratic nominee the cold shoulder. Here are some benchmarks in the relationship between two of the Democratic Party’s most prominent women:

A different constituency


In 2004, in a now-famous interview with Bill Moyers, Warren, then still a professor at Harvard, recounted her first meeting with Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton’s administration.  

Warren had written an op-ed about a piece of bankruptcy legislation supported by credit card companies that would make it more difficult for families to go into bankruptcy.  


Roll Call’s 2016 Election Guide


Warren wrote that the legislation would hurt women who were trying to compete with credit card companies to get child support from their ex-husbands. Clinton, then the first lady, saw the op-ed and invited Warren to meet with her after a speech in Boston.  

“I gotta tell you, I never had a smarter student,” Warren said about Clinton. “And she said, ‘Professor Warren, we’ve got to stop that awful bill.'”  

Warren later said she heard “there were skidmarks in the hallways” when Clinton returned to the White House to convince the administration to reverse course on the bill. Bill Clinton would ultimately veto the bill.  

“She turned around a whole administration on the subject of bankruptcy,” Warren said.  

But when Clinton was elected to the Senate, she voted in favor of the same bill.  

“As Sen. Clinton, the pressures are very different,” Warren said. “She has taken money from the groups and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.”

Punting on Hillary and Wall Street

In 2015, a few weeks after Clinton launched her second campaign for president, Warren was on a panel of former Wall Street regulators at Harvard and was asked, “What sort of financial sheriff do you think Hillary Clinton will be for our country and system if she’s elected?”  

Instead of answering directly about how Clinton would regulate Wall Street, Warren delved into a dense policy answer and ultimately punted on the question.  

“There is, I believe, a broad national consensus for making the system safer, for making Wall Street more accountable,” she said.   

“Hillary Clinton will have a chance in the next few months to lay out what she wants to do and like I said, I just think she has a real opportunity here.”

Notably absent

In December, Clinton held a fundraiser  attended by every female Democratic senator — except for Warren.   

The fundraiser came in the run-up to what would become a contentious primary race against Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.  

When asked why Warren skipped, Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told CNN, “Maybe she has a cold.”

Contact Garcia at

 and follow him on Twitter 



Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.

Recent Stories

Total eclipse of the Hart (and Russell buildings) — Congressional Hits and Misses

House plans to send Mayorkas impeachment articles to Senate on Tuesday

Harris sticks with Agriculture spending, Amodei likely to head DHS panel

Editor’s Note: What passes for normal in Congress

House approves surveillance authority reauthorization bill

White House rattles its saber with warnings to Iran, China about attacking US allies