As part of our #Transcripts2020 project, we are pleased to release the transcript of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s speech at Clinton College in Rock Hill, 9/28/19. An editable version is available here. All transcripts of this series are available here.
0:00:00 Elizabeth Warren: Hello, Rock Hill.
0:00:04 EW: And thank you, Mandy, what a great introduction, thank you. Boy, it is good to be here. I feel like coming back to South Carolina, I’m here with family, so this time I brought my family. My sweetie, my husband Bruce, is here somewhere, he’s wearing a blue shirt, where are you honey, where are you, where are you? I’m checking to make sure he’s still here. What happened to him?
0:00:43 EW: Great!
0:00:44 S?: Bad timing.
0:00:47 EW: Okay, if you see a guy in a blue shirt with a broken arm, cast on his arm, tell him I’m looking for him. I really am. I’m delighted to be here with all of you, and bless you one and all for standing out here in the sun to try to save our democracy.
0:01:11 S?: We will fight with you.
0:01:13 EW: Yes! So I thought what I’d do is, I’d tell you a little bit about myself, I’d tell you a little bit about why I’m in this fight, and then we’ll take some questions, and then if anybody wants to, we’ll stay and do a selfie, for as long as you want.
0:01:33 EW: Good, good. By the way, I’m warmed up on selfies, I stopped at the Waffle House on the way in, and we did selfies all around the Waffle House, so we’re ready, we’re in this. So I was born and raised in Oklahoma.
0:01:49 EW: Okay we got some. There you go, there you go, there aren’t so many Okies. I am the baby, I have three…
0:01:57 EW: Yes, go for babies. I have three much older brothers, they are, to this day, referred to as the boys to distinguish them from the baby who came along. I was what used to be called a late-in-life baby, my mama always just called me, “The surprise.” Now, all three of my older brothers went off and joined the military. They didn’t graduate from college, this was their path to America’s middle-class. My oldest brother Don Reed, he was career military, he spent about five and a half years off and on in combat in Vietnam. We were lucky to get him back home, yes, we were.
0:02:49 EW: My brother John, he spent more than a year stationed overseas, and my brother David, he trained as a combat medic. Now… Yeah. But the consequence of that, is that we had to have a rule in our family and that is, never choke in front of David. To this day, he carries a sharpened pocket knife and he is convinced he could do an emergency tracheotomy. We have some very exciting moments at Thanksgiving in our house, someone goes… And everyone just backs out of the room. But I love my three brothers, they’re all retired now, they all live back in Oklahoma close to each other, I talk to them regularly. When we were growing up, our daddy had a lot of different jobs, he sold fencing, he sold carpets, he sold housewares, he sold paint. And then when I was in middle school, the boys were all gone by then, so it’s just my mama and my daddy and me.
0:04:00 EW: And my daddy had a massive heart attack, and we thought we were gonna lose him. Now he pulled through, but the bad news is, he couldn’t work for a long, long time. And I still remember the day we lost our family station wagon, 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, close the door and I could hear her start to cry, she never wanted to cry in front of me. And this is the time of my life, I’m just a kid, I learned words like mortgage and foreclosure. And one day, I walk into my folks’ bedroom, and laid out on the bed is the dress.
0:05:02 EW: Now, some of you here will know “The dress”. It’s the one that only comes out for weddings, funerals, and graduations. And I saw the dress, and I looked up and saw my mother, and there she was in her slip, in her stocking feet, and she’s pacing at the end of the bed, and she’s saying, “We will not lose this house, we will not lose this house, we will not lose this house.” She was 50 years old, she had never worked outside the home and she was terrified. And she looked up and she saw me in the doorway, I’m just a kid, and she didn’t say anything, she just looks at me and she looks back at that dress, and she looks at me and she wipes her face, pulls that dress on, puts on her high heels, and walks to the Sears and gets a full-time minimum wage job. That full-time minimum wage job saved our house and more importantly, it saved our family.
0:06:25 EW: You wanna know who I am? There it is. And I thought for many, many years, that’s the lesson my mother taught me, is no matter how scared you are, no matter how hard it looks, when it comes down to it, you reach down deep, you find what you have to find, you pull it up and you take care of the people you love. That’s it.
0:06:58 EW: And it was years and years later that I came to understand, that wasn’t just what my mama taught me. That’s what millions of people across this country do every day. Every day, no matter how hard it is, no matter how scared they are, they reach down deep, they find what they have to find, they pull it up, and they take care of themselves and the people they love. That’s who we are.
0:07:30 EW: But it was only years later that I came to understand, that same story is a story about government. It’s about government. 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 mama and a baby out of poverty, that is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight. Yup.
0:08:18 EW: And understand this, that difference is no accident. That difference is about who government works for. When I was a girl, the question asked in Washington is what does it take a family of three to survive? What does it take a family of three to get a toehold in America’s middle-class? What does it take a family of three to lay down something solid that they can build on? Today, the question asked in Washington is where to set the minimum wage to maximize the profits of giant multinational corporations. Well, I don’t want a government that works for giant multinational corporations. I want one that works for our families.
0:09:14 EW: So there it is. You bet. You bet. So, like I said earlier, the boys, they went off and joined the military, that was their path. Me, I had a different path, I have known what I wanted to be since second grade. Oh, I heard someone laugh. You didn’t decide until what, like Fourth Grade? Not me, man. I have known what I wanted to be since second grade, and I’ve never wavered off it. I wanted to be a public school teacher. Can we hear it for our public school teachers?
0:09:58 EW: Oh, this is what I wanted, this is what I wanted, yes. I want you to know, I invested early, I used to line my dollies up and teach school, had a reputation for being tough but fair. Problem was, by the time I graduated from high school, my family didn’t have the money for a college application, much less to send me off to school for four years.
0:10:29 EW: My story, like a lot of American stories is not quite a straight line. Mine has a lot of twists and turns. Here’s how it goes. I got a scholarship to college. Debater, yes. Whoo. And then at 19, I fell in love, got married, and dropped out of school, and got a minimum wage job, and not to the guy in the blue shirt. That story is coming. But it’s what I picked, I chose this, I get that. And it’s a good life. It could be a good life. It just wasn’t my dream. I really wanted to be a teacher, and then I found it: A commuter college 45 minutes away, we’re living down in Texas at this point, and it cost $50 a semester. Yeah, and for a price I could pay for on a part-time waitressing job, I got a chance to finish my four-year diploma, I became a special needs teacher. I’ve lived my dream job.
0:11:50 EW: We got any special needs teachers in here? Oh, we got some. Good, we got some here. Wow. And public school teachers, generally… We got any public school teachers? Yeah. Whoo. I’m gonna need you to back me up on this. It’s not a job, it’s a calling. Yup. And we’re in it, we’re in it with heart. We’re in it all the way. I had 4 to 6-year-olds, special needs. To this day, I can still remember their faces. I loved those babies. And I would probably still be doing that work, only my story has a couple of more twists and turns. And the next one was by the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant. And the principal did what principals did in those days: Wished me luck, and hired someone else for the job. Okay, so here I am, I’m at home, got a baby, I can’t get a job. What am I gonna do? Nobody else is gonna hire me. I decide, I’ll go to law school.
0:13:06 EW: Yay law school! Never ask your friends who went to law school how they ended up in law school. But I headed off to law school. By this time we’re living in New Jersey. And I went to a public law school, it cost $450 a semester, baby on hip, three years of law school, graduated visibly pregnant. You will discover a pattern to these stories.
0:13:32 EW: And took the bar, practiced law for 45 minutes…
0:13:40 EW: And then went back to my first love, which is teaching. I traded little ones for big ones, and I’ve taught in law school pretty much ever since then. I also, husband number one… And it’s never a good sign when you have to number your husbands.
0:14:00 EW: He left, but I found husband number two and I’ve still got him. Go Bruce!
0:14:09 EW: Wherever you are. Yeah, you’re gonna be Bruce? Yeah. Alright. So I taught law school. That’s what I’ve done for all these years. And the thing is, I don’t know about other people, but for me, somebody who grows up always worried about money, man, I taught the money courses. If it was about money, I learned it and I taught it. So I taught contract law and commercial law and secured transactions, I taught corporate finance and partnership finance, and I taught bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law, and law and economics, I taught them all. But the basic idea, the one central question that I always worked on was what’s happening to America’s middle-class? What’s happening to working families in this country? Why is our middle class being hollowed out? And why is it for people who work every bit as hard as my mother worked two generations ago, today the path is so much steeper and so much rockier, and for people of color, even steeper and even rockier?
0:15:35 EW: And the answer is like the answer on minimum wage. It’s who government works for. Think of it this way, we have a government that works great, works fabulously, for giant drug companies, just not for people trying to get a prescription filled. Hear me? Yeah.
0:16:01 EW: We have a government that works terrifically for people who wanna invest in private prisons and private detention centers, just not for the human beings whose lives are torn apart by those institutions.
0:16:17 EW: Yep. We have a government that works great for giant oil companies that wanna drill everywhere, just not for the rest of us who see climate change bearing down upon us.
0:16:44 EW: Oh, let’s do one more. And a government that’s working great for big gun manufacturers, just not for those who worry about the safety of our children.
0:16:58 EW: And here’s the deal, when you see a government that works great for those with money and not for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple, and you need to call it out for what it is.
0:17:20 EW: Corruption. Corruption. And it touches every decision that is made in Washington. Think about it this way, whatever issue brought you here today, whether it’s gun violence, whether it’s health care, prescription drugs, criminal justice reform, if there is a decision to be made in Washington, it’s been influenced by money. It’s been nudged by money. It’s been just a little shaped by money, year after year after year after year. In fact, let me tell you a quick story around this.
0:18:00 EW: So you go back and look and in the 1990s, early ’90s, we’re beginning to get it about climate change. We don’t have all the science yet but we got the basic idea. We’re calling it global warming, but we see carbon levels are going up in the air, this is really dangerous, and here’s the amazing part, Democrats and Republicans are working together on the issue in Washington. They’re talking about what do we need to do? Do we need to expand the Environmental Protection Agency? Do we need to put more money into cleanup, into science? What do we need to do here? And then along come the Koch brothers.
0:18:39 EW: Oh, you’ve heard of the Koch brothers. Yeah, yeah, and the big oil companies and the big polluters. And they get together and basically what they say is, “Huh, if Congress gets serious about this climate thing, if they actually change the rules, then that’s gonna cut into our bottom line. We’re gonna lose money. That’s not gonna work very well for us.” So they’ve got an investment decision to make, think about it that way. They could say, “We’re gonna stop doing carbon-based fuels, we’re gonna invest in green and renew… ” No, they don’t do that. They don’t do that. They could say, “We’re gonna put our money into R&D, and we’re gonna figure out how to clean up the air and to how to clean up the… “
0:19:28 EW: They don’t do that. No, you know what they invest in? Politicians. They invest in politicians in Washington, and that means they start making the big time campaign contributions, they hire the lobbyists and the lawyers and the PR firms, they set up the Super PACs. They just, they’re starting in on all of it. In fact, one part of this, man, you talk about twist the knife. They hire the bought and paid for experts to come in and say, “Oh, I don’t know about climate change. The dinosaurs loved it. It was a great time for salad,” you know, whatever.
0:20:07 EW: Why do they do that? They don’t do that because they really don’t understand the science, they do that because those bought and paid for experts, they build an umbrella that politicians can hide under while they keep taking money, from the Koch brothers, from the fossil fuel industry and from the big polluters. You wanna understand the climate crisis we face in this country today, it’s 25 years of corruption in Washington that brought us here.
0:20:49 EW: So we got a big problem. And to fix it, it’s not gonna work to say, “Well I’ve got one statutory proposal over here and two regulatory changes over there.” No. We have to have big structural change in this country.
0:21:10 EW: Yep. Anybody here ready for some big structural change?
0:21:16 EW: There we go. Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh, that’s why we’re in this fight. And you know what part one of big structural change is all about, is attack the corruption head on. I’m tired of playing defense, it’s time to go on offense.
0:21:36 EW: Yes. Fight back against the influence of money. We don’t have to accept this. And I got a plan for that.
0:21:49 EW: In fact here’s the good news, this is the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate. Big plan. Here’s the bad news, we need the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate. So we gotta do this. Now, you wouldn’t be surprised since money is felt everywhere, that what you see is a plan now that has to try to block it here and here and here and here in a lot of different places. So there’s a lot of pieces to this plan. So let me just give you some highlights. First one, end lobbying as we know it.
0:22:29 EW: Enough. Block the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.
0:22:47 EW: And here’s one you may not have thought about, and that is, make the United States Supreme Court follow basic rules of the ethics.
0:23:02 EW: And, I could do these all afternoon. Let me just do one more, just one more. You wanna really root out some corruption right now?
0:23:11 S?: Yeah.
0:23:11 EW: Yeah! Make everyone, everyone, who wants to run for Federal office, put their tax returns online.
0:23:28 EW: Yep. So that’s part one. Part one, attack the corruption head on. You gotta knock it back, right? Because when you do that, you start to open up possibilities everywhere. Everywhere. So here’s a place I wanna go. And that is we need structural change in our economy. So think of it this way, we’ve got these giant, giant corporations now. Giant corporations that have swallowed up little businesses, swallowed up medium-sized business, shoot, they’ve swallowed up what used to be big businesses. And the problem is they’ve just got so much power. Power over their employees, power over their consumers, power over their communities, shoot, power over our government in Washington. We can’t survive as a democracy when you’ve got that kind of power in the hands of the corporations. It’s time to fight back.
0:24:33 EW: Yep. Now one part that ought to be pretty easy on this, I’m in for it, is how about we get a President with the courage to enforce our anti-trust laws.
0:24:49 EW: Break ’em up, break up big tech, break up big ag, break up these big big companies. Okay. But that’s about enforcing current law. I wanna talk a little bit about structural change. You think of this as power. Corporations have increased their power, the ones at the top, not the little ones, the big ones have increased their power. We gotta have in the structure, some power to counterbalance that. That means we need more power in the hands of workers, make it easier to join a union and give unions more power when they negotiate.
0:25:35 EW: Unions built America’s middle-class, unions will rebuild America’s middle-class. You bet. So that’s one piece of structural change, here’s another, it’s time for a wealth tax in America.
0:25:57 EW: And I got a plan for that one. Okay, so let’s talk about this, here’s the idea behind it. Your first $50 million free and clear. [laughter] I see some people saying, “Whew, I can deal with this woman.” Okay, first $50 million free and clear, but your 50 millionth and first dollar, two cents, you gotta pitch in two cents. And two cents for every dollar after that. Now, I want you to think of it this way. Anybody in here own a home or grow up in a family… Yeah, you’ve been paying a wealth tax pretty much forever. It’s just called a property tax. So all I’m saying is for the richest of the richest of the richest, the top one-tenth of one percent, how about we include in yours, not only your real estate but also your stock portfolio, the diamonds, the Rembrandt and the yacht?
0:27:05 EW: And like I said, this is the top… Think about this. One-tenth of one percent of great fortunes in this country. Now, understand this. I am not proposing this just because I’m cranky.
0:27:20 EW: No, there are some billionaires who say, “Oh, my gosh. I worked hard to build this fortune. I’ve stayed up late.” To which I say, “You mean, unlike anyone else?” But I get it, I get it. You had a great idea. It was the right moment. You did, you probably did work really hard. All I’m saying is you built a great fortune in this country. Good for you. But I guarantee, you built it at least in part using workers all of us help to pay to educate. All of us.
0:28:00 EW: You built it, at least in part, getting your goods to market, on roads and bridges all of us help pay to build.
0:28:15 EW: You built it, at least in part, protected by police and firefighters all of us help pay the salaries for.
0:28:28 EW: And we are glad to do it. We are Americans. We believe in making those investments, in the things that will give everybody an opportunity. We’re glad to do it, but all we’re saying is when you make it big, when you make it really big, when you make it so big that you are in the top one-tenth of one percent, pitch in two cents so everybody else gets a chance to make it in this country.
0:28:58 EW: Two cents, two cents. You’re there for two cents. Two cents, two cents. Oh, and here comes the best part. What can we do for two cents? Whooo, whooo. So let’s talk about it for a minute. Two cents on those great fortunes. The answer is we can provide universal childcare for every baby in this country age zero to five. All of them.
0:29:34 EW: Universal pre-K for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America.
0:29:44 EW: And raise the wages of every preschool teacher and childcare worker in America.
0:29:57 EW: We can do all of that for our littlest babies and we can do more. That same two cents can do that. Plus, we can provide tuition-free technical school, two year college and four year college for everyone who wants an education. Yeah!
0:30:27 EW: And there’s more. We can actually make college accessible to people who come from poor families. We can expand the Pell Grants in every direction and give an opportunity to all of our kids. And we can truly level the playing field just like right here at Clinton College. We can put $50 billion into our historically black colleges and universities.
0:31:08 EW: We can do all of that. Plus, we can cancel student loan debt for 95% of the…
0:31:25 EW: And by the way, all that and we’ll still have a couple of hundred billion left over. What does that tell you about America today? Alright? So that’s part two of what we can do. Part three of what we can do is we can do a little more on living our values. And that is after a lifetime of hard work, people are entitled to retire with some dignity.
0:31:54 EW: We can increase payroll taxes on the top two percent, extend the life of social security for decades to come, increase the Social Security monthly check by 200 bucks for everyone, and increase disability payments by $200 a month.
0:32:21 EW: Together, we can lift millions of people out of poverty. We just have to decide to get out there and fight for it.
0:32:37 EW: Okay, so that’s part two. Part one, attack the corruption head on. Part two, make some structural change in this economy. Part three, we gotta protect our democracy.
0:32:57 EW: I wanna see a constitutional amendment to protect the right of every American citizen to vote and to get that vote counted.
0:33:13 EW: It’s time to roll back every racist voter suppression law in this country.
0:33:27 EW: And we can get rid of political gerrymandering. And just one more, overturn Citizens United, democracy is not for sale. So there it is, just two, three things that I wanna do, attack the corruption head on, do some structural change in our economy and protect our democracy and you know those might sound like different things but they’re not, they’re about the kind of America that we could build together, the kind that works for the people, not for big corporations, not for bazillionaires but for the people.
0:34:18 EW: And for me I see this as about opportunity, the opportunity for every one of our kids to get a first rate education right here in America, every one of them. Opportunity, opportunity to get a good job, to start your own business, to become a farmer, opportunity to do what you wanna do. Opportunity. Look, I was a special needs teacher, I get it, it may just be opportunity to live independently, to have some dignity in your life. Opportunity, opportunity for all of our kids, opportunity for all of our people, opportunity to love the person you love and build the kind of family you wanna build. Yeah!
0:35:23 EW: Opportunity because that’s what pulled me into this race. I never in a million years thought I’d run for any political office but I’m running because I’m grateful. You know? My daddy, he ended up as a janitor but his baby daughter got the opportunity, the opportunity to be a public school teacher, the opportunity to be a college professor, the opportunity to be a United States Senator and the opportunity to be a candidate for President of the United States. Dream big, fight hard, let’s win.
0:36:43 Nikita Jackson: Welcome, welcome, isn’t it great to have Senator Elizabeth Warren right here in Rock Hill, South Carolina, the great all American city. What a wonderful day it is to have you here and for all of you guys to be out here to have the opportunity and the chance to have your question answered by the next President of these United States.
0:37:20 EW: Councilwoman Jackson, you’re the best, let’s hear it for her…
0:37:22 NJ: I’ve heard that, I’ve heard that. [laughter]
0:37:26 EW: And for good reason, right? Tough women get it done. There we go.
0:37:28 NJ: There you go. There you go. Well, I was just amazed that when you first came out here, Senator Warren, that you ran up those steps the way that you did and all of this energy and stamina that you have, and we know that is what we need to get things done for us.
0:37:48 EW: There we go.
0:37:49 NJ: On the level of… At the White House. So with that being said, we know she has it in her to do it.
0:38:00 EW: We’re gonna do this.
0:38:03 NJ: So we’re not gonna prolong any longer ’cause we know you guys want your questions answered. So I’m gonna call out the last three numbers, so I need for you to listen closely, we’re looking for 3-1-2.
0:38:20 EW: Last three digits 3-1-2.
0:38:22 NJ: Three, one, two.
0:38:24 EW: We got a winner?
0:38:26 NJ: Winner, winner chicken dinner?
0:38:31 EW: Oh, okay, alright, try another.
0:38:33 NJ: We’re looking for 3-5-0.
0:38:39 S?: Back here.
0:38:40 EW: Alright, woo-hoo, come on down. Keep going, we’ll do a couple more, we’ll get them all pulled.
0:38:46 NJ: And we’re looking for 3-9-1.
0:38:50 EW: Three, nine, one.
0:38:54 NJ: Let’s hear 2-1-8.
0:38:56 EW: Do we have 3-9-1?
0:38:58 NJ: Two, one, eight, come on down.
0:39:00 EW: Come on down. Come on down.
0:39:02 EW: Alright, we’ve got two, let’s get one more.
0:39:04 NJ: Three, nine, six. Three, nine, six. Back there, come on down.
0:39:10 EW: Alright, come on down. Alright, okay, we got this. Nikita, I think we got three, don’t we have three? One, two, three, we got it?
0:39:20 NJ: Alright, we’re going for one more. One more, one more.
0:39:24 EW: Alright, one more. Okay, Nikita’s got it.
0:39:29 NJ: Three, three, five.
0:39:30 EW: Bingo. No.
0:39:32 NJ: Three, three, five.
0:39:33 EW: That wasn’t funny.
0:39:35 NJ: Over here. Over here. Come on through. Come on through.
0:39:38 EW: Alrighty. Woo-hoo. Alright, shall we do this?
0:39:41 NJ: Let’s do it.
0:39:42 EW: Okay. I got it. You’re the best. Thank you dear. Alright, let me do this. Alrighty, who’s our first one? Do we have first one back here? Who’s back here?
0:39:54 S?: Right here.
0:39:55 EW: Right here?
0:39:56 S?: Right here.
0:39:57 EW: Right here. Hi.
0:39:58 S?: Hi.
0:40:00 EW: Hi, what’s your name.
0:40:00 Lindsey Altman: Lindsey Altman.
0:40:01 EW: Hi Lindsey. Nice to see you.
0:40:03 LA: Hi.
0:40:04 EW: Okay, you got a question?
0:40:05 LA: I do. I came out here to hear all your plans, your famous plan.
0:40:10 EW: Yes. You know, you only heard some of them.
0:40:14 LA: And I love them, obviously.
0:40:17 EW: Good.
0:40:18 LA: I guess my question and my concern for the next President is, how are we gonna get these things done with the other side? I think everybody here is sick of the gridlock in Washington. I just wanna know what is your plan to… I hate the term reach across the aisle, but what is your plan to try to get these things done with the other side?
0:40:43 EW: Okay. So it’s a good question, Lindsey, and I got a plan for that. Okay, but let’s start, ’cause I just actually want to start with just a little point. And that is we hear this a lot about there’s gridlock in Washington. Uh-uh. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. So, when the Republicans came in and they wanted that trillion and a half dollar tax break, start-to-finish, what did that take? Five weeks? To get it through the House and the Senate? By the way, negotiated behind locked doors, and the only folks who got to go in were the Republicans, the bazillionaire donors and the lobbyists.
0:41:22 EW: And they wrote that bill and they passed that bill. And all the other things that don’t happen is largely because giant corporations don’t want it to happen. They don’t want good laws on climate, they don’t want good laws on gun safety, they don’t want good laws on criminal justice reform, they don’t want good laws on drug pricing, because every one of those would cut into somebody’s profits. Somebody who hires a whole lot of lobbyists to make sure that doesn’t happen. So that’s the problem we’ve got right now in Washington. It is working, it’s working great for a thin slice at the top. It’s just not working for the rest of America, and that’s why we’re in this fight.
0:42:12 EW: So here’s my plan on this, and that is to say, “Look, we’re gonna have to go at this together.” That means we gotta build a grassroots army across this country, not just for the purpose of winning in 2020, although that’s really important, but part two is because in 2020, it’s not just about the top of the ticket, it’s up and down the ticket, we gotta build a democratic team, top to bottom. And here’s the next part: We take control, we’ve got control of the House, we take control of the Senate. And yes, I’m looking at you, Lindsey Graham.
0:43:03 EW: We take control of the Senate. My view is the first thing we gotta do is we’ve got to roll back the filibuster rule, we cannot give those guys a veto. And the second thing, pass the anti-corruption laws. Yup. And we’ve already lined ’em up in the House, we’re making them go, they’re out there, they’re getting hearings on them. And here’s the deal, this is where you come in on it. It’s about 2020, it’s about building this grassroots movement, so we win the White House, so we win the Senate, so we win the House, so we win state houses, so we get some seats, so we get out there and fight them for every one of these seats. We’re not giving up any spaces to the Republicans anymore, no more. But here’s the thing, when we win, whatever we win, you can’t go home. You stay in the fight. Because what this is about is not just winning in 2020, it’s about making real change come January, 2021.
0:44:11 EW: I make you a promise. You stay in this fight, I’ll stay in this fight. Yep. Put me in the White House and I’ll get out there every day to fight for exactly the things we’ve talked about. You get out there every day and fight for it from the grass roots, that’s how we’re gonna squeeze this government and make it work for the people. Lindsey, we’ll do this.
0:44:45 EW: And by the way, I’m just so excited by this ’cause I really know we can do this. We can do this. We’re gonna make a lot of change. Okay, who’s next? Who’s next? Right here?
0:44:54 S?: I trust you, Elizabeth!
0:44:56 EW: And I trust you, that’s a good one, because we’re in this together, all the way. Alright, who have we got?
0:45:04 S?: Hi.
0:45:05 S?: Hi.
0:45:05 S?: Oh.
0:45:06 EW: Over here. Number two. Here we go.
0:45:09 S?: Oh, sorry.
0:45:26 EW: Okay, alright, let’s work on that. Okay? Alright, good, good. We have… Who’s next? Here we go. Yeah.
0:45:34 Nazim Uddin: Hi Senator Warren.
0:45:36 EW: Hi.
0:45:36 NU: Thank you so much for coming to Rock Hill.
0:45:38 EW: Thank you. Thank you for coming to Rock Hill.
0:45:40 NU: [chuckle] Thank you. My name is Nazim Uddin. I’m gonna change it up just a little bit, I wanna talk about foreign policy.
0:45:46 EW: Good. Hi Nazim. Good.
0:45:48 NU: Over the summer, we watched two of our Congress members denied entry into Israel to hold Israel accountable for how our military aid is being used in the occupied territories. If you watch closely what’s going on, there’s news of every day homes are being demolished, roads are being ripped up, access to water is being denied to the Palestinian people. Can you tell us that as President, you will hold the military aid that we give to Israel as leverage to bring about a peaceful solution to that issue?
0:46:26 EW: Good. So thank you for this question. So let me start here. I believe in a two-state solution. This has been the official policy of the United States of America for nearly 70 years and the official policy of the government of Israel. And to do that, we need to be able to guarantee the dignity of everyone. This is what I believe in a two-state solution. So let’s go there. If Prime Minister Netanyahu follows through on his plans in the West Bank, then that doesn’t move anyone closer to a two-state solution. And I believe at that point, the United States of America trying to create something stable and lasting in that region has to be willing to use every tool at its disposal, and that means it will be time to pressure the Prime Minister, if that is what he does. We just can’t do this, we can’t keep this up. Does that make sense? Good. Thank you.
0:47:39 EW: We’re gonna do it by numbers. Okay. Yeah, go ahead.
0:47:45 Uchechi Kalu: Hi, hello.
0:47:46 EW: Hi. What’s your name?
0:47:48 UK: Was it on? Hi, my name is Uchechi Kalu.
0:47:51 EW: Hi, Uchechi, did I get that right?
0:47:53 UK: Yeah, right.
0:47:53 EW: Alright.
0:47:54 UK: That’s really good, thank you. Oh my gosh.
0:47:55 EW: Thank you. [chuckle]
0:47:55 UK: So, I’m totally fan girly right now.
0:47:58 EW: Oh.
0:48:00 UK: So, I’m from South Carolina, I am a public school teacher.
0:48:03 EW: Yay!
0:48:03 UK: Yay!
0:48:07 UK: And I kind of wanna cry ’cause I’m just so excited.
0:48:07 EW: Oh, wait, wait, Uchechi… What do you teach?
0:48:10 UK: I teach the humanities.
0:48:11 EW: Oh, good for you.
0:48:12 UK: What’s up, humanities. Yes.
0:48:14 EW: They’re important. Let’s hear it for the humanities. Okay.
0:48:16 UK: Okay. So I’m gonna do this quick before I start crying. One, I’m so happy that you’re here and it’s so amazing to see so many South Carolinians that are out here as well.
0:48:26 EW: Yeah.
0:48:27 UK: So as a teacher, I have a question about education. And there is an article at the end of last year, in The Post and Courier I think, in Charleston, about how bad the education system is here in South Carolina and how the legislature has a policy that they call minimally adequate, essentially, that our school system here just has to be minimally adequate, particularly for minority students, and being, I think we’re maybe 49th in the Union out of 51, including some territories. What do you think really needs to happen in order to transform our education system here to one that reflects what students need in the 21st century?
0:49:13 EW: Okay. Good. So, I got a place to start. How about if we start with a former public school teacher in the White House? And the reason I actually start there, is I think it’s important to have somebody who will stand up and use that platform to talk about the importance of educating every one of our children, and that’s why when I talk about childcare, what I really mean is early, early childhood education, investing in our babies from the very beginning, all the way through. This is absolutely critical.
0:50:00 EW: So part of it is using the platform, part two, let’s fight for some real change, and I’ll tell you one of these, Department of Education has a lot of capacity to direct where money goes, where resources go, what the rules are, enforcing the civil rights laws, all of this. So my plan is to have a public school teacher as Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos need not apply.
0:50:39 EW: And by the way, South Carolinians, if you don’t like Betsy DeVos, how about pitching out the guy who voted for her. So, that’s a big part. I fight for Title I money to make sure it goes into our schools, so we have a truly level playing field. But understand this, education is not free. Education is something we need to put real resources in. You wanna build an America of our best values, you wanna build an America that leads in this world, then invest in every one of our babies. That’s how we get this done. So I’m in, good. Thank you. Thank you. I think we have one more. Do we have one more? Right here. Hi.
0:51:36 Carmen Gibson: Hi, it’s so great to see you here, Senator Warren.
0:51:37 EW: Good to see you. Tell me your name.
0:51:40 CG: My name is Carmen Gibson.
0:51:41 EW: Hi Carmen, good to see you.
0:51:43 CG: I live in Rock Hill and I’m retired.
0:51:45 EW: Go Rock Hill. Okay. Can I pitch you on my social security thing?
0:51:51 CG: It is sort of. I’m on Medicare but my husband is not, he’s a little younger, cradle robber.
0:51:58 EW: I married a younger man too.
0:52:00 CG: Yeah. Uh-huh.
0:52:02 CG: And I was wondering how your transition Medicare for All will work because I know there are some people who won’t wanna vote for you ’cause they love their health insurance. I don’t know who these crazy people are but…
0:52:20 CG: So could you explain to us how you plan that transition?
0:52:22 EW: Sure. Thank you for the question, let’s do a couple of points around Medicare for All if we can. Part one is I’m kinda like you, I don’t know anybody who really loves their insurance company. Because, let’s talk for just a minute about how an insurance company makes money. They make money from premiums, anybody see their premiums go up who has private insurance? Yeah, over the past few years, premiums up, but they also have a second part to it, and that is spend it, deny. That’s exactly right, deny coverage. So how do they do that? They do that by having big deductibles, co-pay every time you see your doctor. “Oh, sorry, that doctor is out of network, no, can’t see that specialist,” because your doctor thinks it’s a good idea, but not your insurance company. No, you don’t get any more physical therapy, not ’cause your doctor doesn’t think you need it, but because your insurance company doesn’t think you need it. Co-pay on your prescriptions or whole prescriptions that are just not covered at all. Think about it this way, the insurance companies last year sucked $23 billion in profits out of our healthcare system.
0:53:38 EW: That doesn’t count the millions they paid to their executives, the big glass office buildings they built, it doesn’t count any of that. All it is, is that’s profit. And do you know how they earned every single dollar of that $23 billion? By saying no to your coverage. So that means right now in America, we got hard working families who just keep reaching in their pocket and paying, and paying, and paying. It is not sustainable, we need health care as a basic human right, we fight for basic human rights, we gotta get everyone covered at the lowest possible cost. We have got to get these costs under control for middle class families, for working families, and we’ve got a chance to do that with Medicare for All, this is our opportunity. So the way it’s built, is it starts out, it goes through about a four-year, goes through a four-year transition period as more and more people transition over to Medicare for All.
0:54:49 EW: Here’s something I particularly wanna raise in South Carolina though. Every time I come down here, I talk to folks who don’t have health care, folks who got cut out because the state has said, “No, we’re not gonna do the Affordable Care Act.” Because the state has cut Medicaid. So a bunch of people who have no access and other people who have very thin access: Understand this about Medicare for All, it skips the state and goes straight to you. This is your health care, not your governor’s health care, not your state legislature’s health care, your health care. In the same way that you get your check from social security, you get Medicare coverage for every single person in this country. And one last thing I wanna say about it, people say, “Oh, you know, expensive.” Are you kidding? We’re paying for it now, we’re paying for it now in the worst possible way, families are going bankrupt right now over medical bills in America. Understand this, every other big nation in the world has health care coverage for their people. We are the richest country in the history of the world and yes, we can afford health care for our people, we just have to make this happen.
0:56:27 EW: So thank you. I tell you what, I know we only got to talk about some topics, and people I’m sure have lots of things they’d like to talk about. Yes, I’m glad moms demand action here.
0:56:47 EW: We’re gonna be part of this fight to make sure… And by the way, I wanna make a quick pitch here, the importance not just of saying, we’re gonna do one thing on guns, not just one thing, understand, seven of our children and teenagers will die today from gun violence. And yes, it’s mass shootings, but it’s also what happens in neighborhoods, happens on street corners, happens in playgrounds, hits really hard in communities of color. It happens with suicide by gun. Huge lethality on this. It happens in domestic violence. We have a gun violence problem. And back in 1965, we had a problem with deaths on the highway, I mean a big problem, and the way we looked at this is, if you go back and read about this time, people are talking about carnage on the road. Five people were dying for every million miles traveled on our highways, and we just… This is too much, babies were dying, parents were dying, brothers and sisters were dying. So we said as a country, not one thing we’re gonna do, we’re gonna bring down the mortality rates for driving on our roads. And some was pretty obvious, we did seatbelts, we did safety glass so you don’t get all cut up if you end up going through a windshield. Some of it hadn’t even been invented yet, like airbags and automatic braking systems.
0:58:21 EW: But we said we are committed as a country to reducing death by auto. It’s time to commit as a country to reducing death by gun. We gotta do this. You bet. And thank you for your work on this. So let me wrap this up by saying how grateful I am to all of you for coming out here, who’s standing out here, I know it’s hot. I appreciate your doing this. There’s a lot on the line in this election. 2020 is not just about the next four years or even the next eight years, it’s about where this country goes for generation and generation to come. And the way I see this, when I first started running for President, it’s been gosh, almost nine months ago now, coulda had another baby. No, no, no, I was just thinking out loud. Sorry, sorry. But I think about this, nine months ago when I first started doing this, I went back to Washington after the first time I’d been out talking publicly, and a couple of experts, also known as senators, came up to me and said, “You know, I’m following what you’re doing, it’s kind of interesting, but what you’re asking for is too hard. It’s too hard. You take this on, it is too hard. You’ve got too many ideas, too many complex but it’s too hard. What you do is you talk about a few things, smile more, and that’s how you run for President.”
1:00:05 EW: And I thought to myself, what do you think folks said to the abolitionists? “Too hard, give up now, America is never gonna change.” What did they say just over a hundred years ago to the suffragists? “Too hard, give up now.” What did they say to the early union organizers? “Too hard, give up now.” What did they say to the foot soldiers in the Civil Rights Movement? “Too hard, give up now.” And just a decade ago, what did they say to the LGBTQ activists who wanted equal marriage? “Too hard, give up now.” But they didn’t give up, they got organized, they built a grassroots movement, they persisted, and they changed the course of American history. This is our moment in American history. Dream big, fight hard, let’s win.