© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Elizabeth Warren Talks About Economic Fairness - Not Impeachment - In Rock Hill

Steve Harrison
Elizabeth Warren campaigned at Clinton College in Rock Hill Saturday evening.

After one of the most tumultuous weeks in American political history, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren campaigned Saturday evening at Clinton College in Rock Hill.

The Massachusetts senator has said President Donald Trump should be impeached, but it was not part of her talking points at this rally. Warren’s speech  was notable for what she didn’t say.

She didn't mention Ukraine or President Trump, and there was nothing in her speech about impeachment. Instead she talked about her growing up in Oklahoma – and her family’s financial struggles after her father had a heart attack and couldn’t work.

"I still remember the day we lost our family station wagon," Warren said. "I remember how my mother used to tuck me into bed at night and she'd always smile and she'd pull my blanket up, and she'd give me a kiss. And she'd leave the room and close the door, and I could hear her start to cry."

Warren, who was in middle school at the time, says that was a pivotal moment for her.

"And this is the time in my life – I’m just a kid – I learned words like mortgage and foreclosure," she said.

She said the government needs to do more for people who are struggling.

"That same story is a story about government," she said. "Think of it this way: Back when I was a girl, a full-time minimum wage job in America would support a family of three. It would pay a mortgage, it would cover the utilities, and it would put food on the table. Today, a full-time minimum wage job in America will not keep a momma and baby out of poverty. That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight."

One month ago, former Vice President Joe Biden also campaigned at Clinton, a historically black college.

Biden’s message was that President Trump and his policies were “sinful,” and he framed his campaign as a quest to put the country on a better path.

Biden’s crowd in August was significantly smaller, though it was about half African American.

As has been the case through much of the campaign, Warren drew a much larger crowd, but the people who came to Clinton College were about 80% to 90% white.

Ellisa Baskin, of Bethune, S.C., said she decided to vote for Warren after listening to her speech.

"That’s what I’m here for, to listen, and to think about what I want to do," Baskin said. "And now really and truthfully, I am voting for her. I do like her stance on many things. She wants that change, that structural change, and I think that's a great thing. We need a change here now."

Warren is in second place in national polls for the Democratic nomination, behind Biden. South Carolina is the fourth state to hold a primary or caucus, and black voters made up 60% of the electorate in the Democratic primary four years ago. 

Baskin, who is black, said African American voters will eventually support Warren.

"So if we take it ourselves and go back home to our families, and talk to them, just like they're saying, we can start a change," she said. "Tell them there are more options ... and tell them what Elizabeth Warren stands for."

After her rally, Warren was asked by the media about speaking at a historically black college but attracting a mostly white audience.

"What I’m doing is showing up, and trying to talk to people about why I’m in this fight," she said. "About what’s broken, about how to fix it, and how we’re building a grass roots movement to get it done."

She was also asked about impeachment – and why wasn’t it part of her 35-minute speech.

Elizabeth Warren posed for selfies after her rally in Rock Hill.
Credit Steve Harrison/WFAE
Steve Harrison/WFAE

"We have a lot of things to talk about, and I’ve certainly talked about impeachment," Warren said. "I’m trying to remember. I think I brought it up at the last town hall or the one before that. There are a whole lot of issues that people want to talk about out here. They want to talk about health care. They want to talk about education. They want to talk about foreign policy."

Warren ended her evening with what has become the signature part of her rallies: posing for selfies with anyone who wants one. Hundreds of people waited for more than an hour to meet and pose with the senator.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.