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Female senators urge Warren: Back Hillary Clinton

Female senators urge Warren: Back Hillary Clinton
© Greg Nash

Female Democratic senators are privately urging Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Warren: Trump is 'a danger to democracy' Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers MORE to formally endorse Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE for president.

The lobbying campaign comes as the Democratic race between Clinton and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden campaign promises will struggle if Republicans win back Congress Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers MORE (I-Vt.) is heating up going into the New Hampshire primary next week. 

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A group of Democratic ­senators is taking a bus tour of New Hampshire this weekend to stump for Clinton, and they want the liberal Massachusetts powerhouse to get on board. Clinton narrowly defeated Sanders in the Iowa caucuses earlier this week, but the Vermont senator is a heavy favorite to win New Hampshire.

A few of the senators have discussed with Warren the possibility of publicly backing Clinton. However, they’ve been careful not to put a lot of public pressure on their colleague, who is fiercely independent and has a loyal following among progressives.

“I’m hopeful she’ll join us. I’m hopeful she’ll join the revolution that will allow us to come together to elect” the first female president, said Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Can Cheney defy the odds and survive again? MORE (D-Mich.), one of Clinton’s staunchest supporters.

Asked if she or other senators had approached Warren personally, Stabenow said, “We all talk about it,” but declined to reveal what Warren has said in response.

Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiBottom line How the US can accelerate progress on gender equity Former Md. senator Paul Sarbanes dies at 87 MORE (Md.), the dean of the Senate’s Democratic women, has also talked to Warren about backing Clinton.

“I’ve told Sen. Warren that we would welcome her anytime she’s ready,” she said.

Warren is the only female Democratic senator who has not endorsed Clinton.

Mikulski indicated she is not making a hard sell. She’s more focused on revving up Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“I’m going up to New Hampshire to be on a bus tour with [Clinton] on Friday. Many of the Democratic women of the Senate are going to do that. And we’re getting ready to organize another tour in South Carolina,” she said.

Warren declined to comment in the Capitol Wednesday, and her office did not return a request for comment.

An endorsement from Warren would be very valuable now. Sanders is leading Clinton by double digits in New Hampshire, where Warren has a higher profile than in most states because it’s part of the Boston media market.

Clinton is likely to pick up the endorsement of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was the first female Speaker. Pelosi, who is revered by progressives, told The Hill on Tuesday she will endorse in the primary, and all indications suggest she will back the former first lady. 

Warren, meanwhile, has been coy. 

This week, Warren told reporters, “No endorsements now.” She said she is proud that her party’s White House hopefuls are focusing on the issues voters care about. Asked if she’d endorse a candidate following the Iowa caucuses, Warren responded, “We’ll see.”

Clinton has labored to compete with Sanders for liberal activists and young voters, two blocs that helped then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCensus results show White House doubling down on failure Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (Ill.) defeat her in the 2008 presidential primary. Warren, an idealist who often takes on Wall Street interests aggressively, is popular with those voters.

A Democratic aide said the Senate women have been “trying to do a little arm twisting in recent months.”

“Her role in this campaign would be valuable,” the staffer said. “I think she’s gotten more attention than most senators, and I think it would mean a lot.”

Other women in the Senate have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the campaign for Clinton, which they see as a historic opportunity to advance women’s rights.

Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces MORE (D-N.Y.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' If Taliban regains power, they would roll back rights for women: US intelligence Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills MORE (D-N.H.) said they would also participate on the New Hampshire bus tour.

“I’m heading up Thursday night. We’ll have a bus of women senators traveling around the state doing campaign events, and I’m really excited about it,” said Gillibrand, who is seen as a possible future presidential candidate. 

Democratic Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court MORE (Minn.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package World passes 3 million coronavirus deaths MORE (Wis.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemings asked about Senate run after sparring with Jordan on police funding Republicans fret over divisive candidates Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP MORE (Mo.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Senate tries to shake off graveyard status Lawmakers brace for bitter fight over Biden tax plan MORE (Hawaii), Gillibrand and Stabenow campaigned for Clinton in Iowa. Gillibrand and McCaskill have also campaigned for her in Nevada.

Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status MORE (D-Calif.) is planning to attend fundraisers for Clinton in her home state.

Some female senators say they haven’t pressed Warren.

“I think Elizabeth will make her decision when she wants to make her decision. I don’t think it affects Hillary’s candidacy at all,” Gillibrand said.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), a longtime Clinton supporter, said while she hadn’t heard of the backroom conversations, “I think they are trying to get endorsements from as many people as they can get. She’s kind of a media darling, a real populist ... and having her endorsement would be a good thing.”

“I think it meant a lot to have her endorsement on the plan to reform Wall Street,” she said, adding that it was a good first step. 

Clinton and Warren are two of the brightest lights of the Democratic Party, both with loyal followings. But their relationship has run warm and cold over the years.

Liberal activists tried to draft Warren to run for president against Clinton this year, despite many protestations that she was not interested.

In early 2013, Warren along with the rest of the Democratic women in the Senate signed a letter urging Clinton to run for president, but she has since clarified that it did not signify an endorsement.

Warren and Clinton have disagreed most pointedly on issues affecting Wall Street, which Clinton used to represent when she served as New York’s junior senator from 2001 to 2008.

Warren told journalist Bill Moyers in a 2004 interview that Clinton flip-flopped on key bankruptcy legislation after winning election to the Senate. 

As first lady in the late 1990s, Clinton helped persuade President Clinton to veto the bill, which Warren argued at the time would hurt single mothers. But once Clinton was representing New York’s financial services industry in Congress, she voted for it.

“As Sen. Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry,” Warren told Moyers. “She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.”

Their relationship was sufficiently tense that Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonNever underestimate Joe Biden Joe Biden demonstrates public health approach will solve America's ills McAuliffe rising again in Virginia MORE did not campaign for Warren when she ran for the Senate against then-Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in 2012. The former president offered his support with an email fundraising solicitation, but he declined to appear with her in person.