Did Elizabeth Warren just hint she might run for president in 2016?

Elizabeth Warren, freshman Massachusetts senator and liberal hero, told People magazine she doesn't think she'll run for president, but then talked about 'amazing doors that could open.' Hmm. 

Brennan Linsley/AP
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts gestures as she speaks to a crowd during a rally to urge the reelection of Colo. Sen. Mark Udall to the Senate, on the campus of the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colo., Oct. 17, 2014.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has launched a new round of media hyperventilating about a possible run for the presidency.

The trigger? An interview in People magazine, in which the liberal Massachusetts Democrat said, “I don’t think so,” in response to a question about whether she was interested in running in 2016. That’s a slight upgrade from her usual flat-out “no,” or its expanded version, “I am not running for president.”

Here’s the full response to the question, which, in fairness to my journalist friends, does seem to open the door to a campaign more than slightly: "I don't think so," Senator Warren said. "If there's any lesson I've learned in the last five years, it's don't be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open."

In her memoir, published in April, Warren describes humble beginnings in Oklahoma and an eventual rise to tenured law professor at Harvard. Two years ago, she won a seat in the US Senate on her first run for office.

She also describes being challenged by stage fright, at least in the early stages of public life. But she seems to have dealt with that, growing her profile first as a voice for consumer protection and as a Wall Street basher, then Obama administration official, and now a senator. In the 2014 midterms, she’s a top campaign surrogate for Democrats desperately trying to keep their majority in the Senate.

So is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. And like the more centrist Ms. Clinton, Warren has legions of fans and a draft movement – Ready for Warren – urging her to jump into 2016. But is it too soon and is she really qualified? She’s been in the Senate for less than two years and has no executive experience.

Um, wait a minute, that’s not stopping a bunch of perhaps underqualified men from openly preparing for or at least contemplating a run. Start with Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas, also new to Capitol Hill, and Ben Carson, the renowned African-American neurosurgeon and GOP activist favorite, who has never run for anything (and also has a draft movement urging him to get in).

For Democrats – and just plain voters – who have long thought the nation is ready for a woman president, the prospect of a Clinton vs. Warren Democratic primary is either a dream come true or, for party leaders, a potential nightmare. For the second time, what looked set to be a Hillary Clinton nomination coronation could turn into a knock-down-drag-out ideological brawl. The Republicans are already headed in that direction, with a forming field of more than a dozen likely candidates.

There’s another reason Warren might run: She’s not as young as she looks. By Election Day on Nov. 8, 2016, she will be well beyond eligible for Medicare. So if she’s ever going to run, 2016 may be her best shot. 

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.