Elizabeth Warren Backtracks on Campaign Finance Pledge — ‘I Do Not Believe in Unilateral Disarmament’

Monday on MSNBC’s “All In,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, appeared to have backtracked on a campaign pledge not to accept money from big donors like lobbyists or political action committees established by corporations.

According to the Massachusetts Democrat, the pledge only applies to the primary. She argued that if selected as the Democratic nominee for the general election, such a promise would be difficult to keep and be competitive against Republicans at the same time.

Partial transcript as follows:

HAYES: So, here’s my question — you’ve been in politics for a little while. You’ve just recently re-elected. And during that time —

WARREN: That’s right. One Senate term, uh-huh.

HAYES: One Senate term, right? So, and during that time, you have done — you’ve done calls to wealthy billionaires —

WARREN: Uh-huh.

HAYES: — you’ve done big-ticket fund-raisers, you put together a pretty good war chest, I think about $11 million that you had amassed.

WARREN: Uh-huh.

HAYES: What does that say about what you were doing before? If this is the right way to do it now, why now and why not before?

WARREN: So, look, I’ve never actually been in a deeply competitive primary. I get it. Republicans come to the table armed to the teeth. They’ve got all of their donors, their wealthy, wealthy donors. They’ve gone their super PACs. They’ve got their dark money. They’ve got everything going for them.

I’m just going to be blunt. I do not believe in unilateral disarmament. We got to go into these fights, and we got to be willing to win these fights.

HAYES: So, this applies to the primary. Like, were you to get the nomination —

WARREN: This is a primary —

HAYES: — or anyone else gets the nomination, like, just raise all the money you can how ever you can.

WARREN: Yes, but here’s what I want you to see that’s different about it, Chris. Think about the difference once we’re down to the two candidates. If the Democrats have spent the next year in a primary, building this thing, face-to-face, person-to-person, neighbor-to-neighbor across the country, think of the kind of foundation that we have laid down.

So that when we’re really up against it, in the general election, it’s not just money to fund television ads, it’s all the folks who will do the door knocking, it’s all the folks who will make the phone calls, it’s all the folks who will reach out to their network, because you know how we’re going to win in 2020, it’s going to be big. It’s going to be people who voted for Donald Trump last time around. It’s going to be people who haven’t voted at all. It’s going to be people who see a vision, and a way to make this democracy work, not just for the rich and the powerful but make this democracy work for everyone.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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