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Elizabeth Warren outlines ‘dream big’ presidential platform for Chicago crowd, bashes Trump, not Biden

Warren’s campaign said 3,600 came to the Auditorium Theatre to hear her message — making the Chicago stop one of her largest rallies.

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren in 2019. File Photo.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, held a town hall Friday in the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren took her self-proclaimed “dream big” grass-roots agenda to a Chicago crowd Friday evening, laying out her populist presidential platform to tax the wealthiest, root out corruption and protect democracy.

“We’re going to build a country that works not just for a thin slice of the top,” Warren said. “We’re going to build a country that works for all of us.”

The Massachusetts senator followed her game plan of taking plenty of shots at President Donald Trump but holding fire against her Democratic rivals.

Warren’s campaign said 3,600 came to the Auditorium Theatre to hear her message — making the stop one of her largest rallies.

The 70-year-old brought out a largely young crowd — many of whom cheered loudest when she brought up her plan to eliminate student debt.

Speaking with reporters after the town hall, Warren steered clear of criticizing her Democratic competitors, as she’s done for months. Asked whether former Vice President Joe Biden was wrong on the issue of busing — which Sen. Kamala Harris bashed him for during Thursday’s debate — Warren said she’s been clear about her own views.

“I have already supported legislation that uses busing as a way to help diversify communities and strengthen communities. I am in this race because I’m working on ways to help us build a stronger future together,” Warren said.

Pushed further on whether Biden was wrong, Warren said, “I’m already on record with busing and using busing as a way to help communities that are diversified.”

Crowd for Elizabeth Warren in the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University
Supporters cheer as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks during a town hall in the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University on Friday night. Warren is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

During Warren’s hour-long appearance on the theater stage, the senator pledged to ban single-use plastic if elected, after a question about how she’d work to fight climate change. She also stayed on stage for hours to take selfies with her supporters, as she’s done at the other 101 town halls she’s hosted.

And she reserved her criticisms for Trump and multi-national corporations.

“Foreign policy by tweet does not work. First and foremost, know the difference between your friends and your enemies. Be nice to your friends,” Warren offered to the president as a way to rebuild relationships with the country’s allies.

Warren said she’s heard complaints that her plans are too grandiose. But she compared her reform plans to the plight of abolitionists, suffragettes and early union organizers.

“They didn’t give up. They got organized. They built a grassroots movement. They persisted,” Warren said to cheers. “They changed the force of American history. This is our moment. Our moment in history.”

Warren, who visited a detention center for migrant children two days ago, warned “it’s getting worse,” than a year ago.

“No great country locks up children. No great country separates children from their families. No great country lets profiteers make money off locking up desperate people. It’s getting worse. I saw little children. There were children who were being marched from building to building as if they were prisoners,” Warren said. “This is wrong. And all of us, not just some of us, all of us need to stand up and say to our government, stop this now.”

Warren’s Chicago visit came the same day Biden defended his civil rights history at a Rainbow PUSH Convention. Warren planned to speak at the convention on Saturday.

Elizabeth Warren at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theatre
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theatre for a town hall Friday night and is scheduled to speak at the Rainbow PUSH national convention on Saturday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times