10.26.11

Elizabeth Warren Talks Occupy Wall Street

The Harvard professor says she created the ‘intellectual foundation’ for the Occupy Wall Street, and recently visited Boston’s protesters. She tells Samuel P. Jacobs about how she is taking that fight to the U.S. Senate.

On Tuesday, we posted Elizabeth Warren’s praise for Occupy Wall Street in a profile of the Democrat’s Massachusetts Senate campaign.

“I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” she told The Daily Beast.

Warren’s words cheered the left and irritated the right.

A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee said, “Warren’s decision to not only embrace but take credit for this movement is notable considering the Boston Police Department was recently forced to arrest at least 141 of her Occupy acolytes in Boston the other day after they threatened to tie up traffic downtown and refused to abide by their protest permit limits.”

Warren made her comments to The Daily Beast on Oct. 12 during an interview in Quincy, Mass. When we spoke, she had yet to visit the protests, which were taking place in downtown Boston’s Dewey Square. Three days later, on Oct. 15, Warren quietly visited the protesters, as noted by The New York Times’ Abby Goodnough.

I asked Warren why she had been keeping her distance from the protest, which has a message very similar to her own criticism of the financial sector. Here’s the exchange:

TDB: I’m curious: Is there something that is keeping you away from this movement? Is there a reason why you haven’t embraced it?

EW: Look, everybody has to follow the law. That’s the starting point. I’ve been fighting this fight for years and years now. As I see it, this is about two central points: one, this is about the lack of accountability. That Wall Street has not been held accountable for how they broke the economy. The second is a values question, a fundamental fairness around the way that markets have been distorted and families have been hurt. I’m still fighting that fight. I’m just fighting it from this angle. I’m fighting it from … I want to fight it from the floor of the United States Senate. I think that is a place to make this difference.

TDB: Is showing solidarity with them going to get in the way of that?

EW: It’s not a question of solidarity. I just don’t think that’s the right way to say it. I support what they do. I want to say this in a way that doesn’t sound puffy. I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. That’s the right thing. There has to be multiple ways for people to get involved and take back our country. The fight that I’m fighting now is one that is directed towards the United State Senate. That’s just how I see it.