Clinton, Warren see opportunity in joining forces

Hillary Clinton allies say the former secretary of State and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have everything to gain and nothing to lose from their secret meeting in December.

Clinton needs to make sure liberals are fully on board with her candidacy ahead of a likely 2016 run for the White House. Win over Warren, who some Democrats believe could give Clinton a run for her money in a Democratic primary, and Clinton would win over the left.

{mosads}“No question Sen. Warren taps into a wellspring of enthusiasm among a part of the party which will be important in both primary season and [get out the vote] time,” said one longtime Clinton ally, who called the meeting “smart and sensible.”

At the same time, Warren has much to gain as well.

By tapping into Clinton, the Massachusetts senator can make sure she influences the race for the White House, even if she chooses against being a candidate; she has repeatedly ruled out running for president.

Warren also wants to make sure the causes she champions, particularly financial reform, are not given short shrift by the likely Democratic nominee, who is seen as close to Wall Street.

That sets up a couple of challenges for Clinton, since, the ally said, there are cases where her ideas diverge with Warren’s.

“It’s a delicate balance, because going too far left risks losing the center. But it’s doable.”

Another ally of Clinton’s predicted Warren “won’t come cheap,” and that the senator inevitably will want something in return, a political maneuver others in Clintonland acknowledge as well. They predict Warren will ask for commitments on policies that the senator champions.

“It remains unclear what Warren really wants out of all of this,” another Clinton backer said. “But she wants something. I’m sure it’s a mix of commitments, including promises to look out for progressive issues and policies. She’s no dummy.”

Progressives who have criticized Clinton and clamored for Warren to enter the race embraced the meeting, calling it “positive news.”

“And it will be even more positive news if economic populist thinkers are appointed to her inner circle,” said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) in a statement on Tuesday. “The way for Democrats to win the general election in 2016 is by actively campaigning on an Elizabeth Warren-style economic message — big ideas like expanding Social Security benefits, a national goal of debt-free college and stopping Wall Street banks from wrecking our economy again.”

Clinton and Warren met at the former first lady’s request in December at the Clintons’ home in Northwest Washington, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Clinton asked for policy ideas and suggestions from Warren, according to the Times, but did not seek an endorsement.

Top Democratic officials, bundlers and political strategists said they took the meeting as an indication Warren will not enter the Democratic presidential primary.

“I think this is Hillary Clinton reaching out to a major player in the Democratic Party, and I think this is something she needs to do if she’s going to run the campaign everyone hopes she’ll be running,” a third Clinton source said.

 Democrats who have spoken to Warren say they haven’t been given any real indication that Warren would run. “I take her at her word,” one Democratic strategist said. 

  Clinton supporters are also confident Warren won’t run against their candidate.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who still thinks Warren is running for president, but a lot of people expect this to be an inclusive presidential campaign, and this is a huge part of that,” one Clinton ally said.

The first longtime ally to the former first lady said that, despite some differences, the two “probably agree on more issues than disagree.”

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