Elizabeth Warren says she will not run for president in 2016

A month ago, I had a little snarky fun parsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s effort to make it sound like she wouldn’t be a presidential candidate in 2014 without actually saying so.

The gag then was that, when asked about a presidential bid, Warren always used the exact same phrase: “I am not running for president.” You didn’t need a highly tuned b.s. detector to grasp that “I am not running” didn’t completely rule out a decision to start running.

When Steve Inskeep of NPR asked her whether “I’m not running” covered only the current moment or ruled out a bid during the 2016 cycle, she declined to give a clear response, which I took as a sign that she was keeping her option open.

That changed (in my perception at least) when Warren sat down with former FDIC Chair Shelia Bair for an interview published in Fortune, which included this exchange.

Bair: So are you going to run for president?

Warren: No.

(And that was her entire answer).

That may be not be the full Sherman. (Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, seeking to put to rest the rumors that he would be the Republican candidate in 1884, said: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”) But I take it to be a clear non-coy answer and so did Fortune, which headlined that it had obtained “the final word on a White House run.”

I’m a huge fan of straight talk from politicians, of which there is little and, in my humble opinion, even less than there used to be. In general, on policy, Warren has been toward the high end of the candor spectrum. Her brief flirtation with parsing tenses on the subject of “not running” was a temporary deviation from that behavior and I’m glad she has decided to clarify.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/14/2015 - 04:13 pm.

    I’m ambivalent

    Of the potential candidates on the horizon at the moment – a lineup of faces sure to change substantially by the time we actually get to the end of this year – Warren is the one I’d have the easiest time generating some enthusiasm for, and precisely because of that tendency toward candor and plain-speaking. Admittedly, it also doesn’t hurt that she seems genuinely interested in the middle class that so many others pay lip service to. That said, I’m also aware of her age, which might be an issue, and frankly, I’ve so far seen no evidence that she really WANTS the job. Huge ambition and ego are usually necessary to make a run for the White House in the modern era, regardless of party or ideology.

    The default Democrat at this point appears to be Hillary (who’s 2 years older than Warren), who brings with her talent and experience, plus several railroad cars’ worth of baggage. Reince Priebus has already promised to make the potential first husband’s personal life “fair game” if Hillary runs, so we could be treated to a campaign harking back to the Lewinsky episode, again, ad nauseum, plus associated attacks on Whitewater and other fiscal eyebrow-raisers that, were they practiced by a Republican, would be applauded by Republican leaders across the country.

    On the GOP side, the current potential candidate list is frightening. Hillary might be a disaster for Democrats, but Ted Cruz might be a disaster for the nation, not just a political party. It’s a risk I don’t want to take, so I may hope for a Libertarian or Green Party candidate I can vote for in good conscience…

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/15/2015 - 03:46 pm.

    Warren’s main function

    is pulling the party to the Left.
    She was not going to be nominated and knew it, and to her credit did not try to ride the publicity of a doomed nomination attempt (see Bachmann; Pawlenty).

    As for Hilary, her baggage gets lighter by the day.
    As time passes, people who weren’t of voting age when Bill was President wonder what the fuss was all about.
    On the other hand, the economy (including jobs AND wages) was better, and we didn’t get into any endless and pointless wars.

    And as you say, on the GOP side the only creditable contender (JB) has his own baggage.

    As for the age issue, women live longer and age better than men, so a woman in her sixties has a lot of productive years left.

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