A Fighting Chance

By Elizabeth Warren

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USA Today: Sen. Warren willing to take on system

April 20, 2014

By Susan Page

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — How has an earnest 64-year-old Harvard professor with a specialty in bankruptcy law emerged as a progressive hero and presidential prospect?

For one thing, listen to what Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says when asked if some bankers should have gone to jail in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. “You always want to be careful about this as a lawyer,” she begins in an interview with USA TODAY, sounding every bit a senator. Then she stops herself. “Actually, no, let me start that one over. Yes!”

Warren is discussing her unlikely political journey and her new book, A Fighting Chance, over a lunch of fried flounder fingers and corn bread at the Summer Shack, a fresh-fish place and her favorite local joint back home. To the surprise even of herself, less than two years after being elected to her first political office, she has become the leading voice of a populist movement shaping the Democratic message for this year’s elections and perhaps beyond.

She has done that with a peculiar combination of professorial data points and plainspoken language. She mixes decades of study into what drives people to financial ruin — more likely to be a lost job or failed marriage than profligate spending, she concluded — with outrage over a system she argues is rigged against ordinary folks in favor of plutocrats.

Plus a dose of political karma.

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