Warren launches White House bid with call for 'structural change'

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Buttigieg says he doubts consulting work for insurer led to layoffs Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE (D-Mass.) has officially kicked off her 2020 bid for the White House, joining a Democratic primary field that promises to be among the largest and most diverse in the party’s history.

Warren quickly took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE in her announcement speech Saturday in Lawrence, Mass., accusing the administration of being "the most corrupt in living memory" and lacking "a conscience" with its immigration policies.

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She also portrayed herself as a fighter willing to pursue large-scale reform, saying, "It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration. We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges – a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change."

"This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way," she said in the roughly 40-minute speech, sporting a scarf but not gloves on a brisk 30-degree day.

The announcement at the event in her home state of Massachusetts came more than a month after Warren formed an exploratory committee that allowed her to begin raising money for a presidential campaign. Since then, she has crisscrossed early primary states and hired staffers to lay the framework for a campaign.

Introducing Warren at her event on Saturday was Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Trump escalates fight over tax on tech giants Sanders's Massachusetts state director 'moves on' from campaign MORE III (D-Mass.), a rising star in the Democratic Party and an heir to the Kennedy political dynasty who is one of the first high-profile lawmakers to endorse Warren for the presidency. She was also joined by her fellow home-state Senate colleague Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyWarren proposes 'Blue New Deal' to protect oceans There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trump administration drops plan to face scan all travelers leaving or entering US MORE (D-Mass.).

“I’m here with you today because this country – our country – needs a leader who will restore the solidarity that Donald Trump stole, who will not cower from the big tough battles, the ugly injustice and oppression that still finds its way to American soil,” Kennedy said.

“That leader is a colleague, a mentor and a friend,” he continued. “That leader is the next president of the United States. That leader is Elizabeth Warren.”

The location of Warren’s announcement was significant in itself. Lawrence was the site of the “Bread and Roses” strike of textile workers in 1912, considered a landmark moment for labor in the U.S.

Dominating Warren’s message on Saturday were themes that have characterized much of the nascent presidential candidate’s career. She railed against special interests and Wall Street and called for higher wages for workers.

"End the corruption. We all know the Trump administration is the most corrupt in living memory. But even after Trump is gone, it won’t be enough to do a better job of running a broken system. We need to take power in Washington away from the wealthy and well-connected and put it back in the hands of the people where it belongs," she said.

Also interspersed throughout her announcement speech were acknowledgements of pervasive racial inequality in U.S. economic security.

“I’ve spent most of my life studying what happens to families like mine, families caught in the squeeze, families that go broke,” she said. “And what I found was that year after year, the path to economic security had gotten tougher and rockier for working families, and even tougher and even rockier for people of color."

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She also decried "bigotry" emerging from the White House, saying, "Whether it’s white people against black people, straight people against gay people, middle-class families against new immigrant families – the story is the same. The rich and powerful use fear to divide us."

"We’re done with that. Bigotry has no place in the Oval Office," she declared.

Warren’s speech, at times, echoed the campaign messages of former President Obama, who pushed themes of “hope” and “change,” and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Buttigieg says he doubts consulting work for insurer led to layoffs Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE (I-Vt.), whose insurgent 2016 White House bid hinged on criticisms of corporate interests in politics and rising economic inequality.

Warren was set to travel to New Hampshire later Saturday for the first stop of a six-state campaign swing that will also include visits to Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia and California.

While there was little, if any, doubt that Warren would move forward with a formal presidential bid after launching her exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve, her first month on the campaign trail was not without turbulence.

The Massachusetts Democrat has faced questions about her past claims of Native American ancestry and her decision last year to release the results of a DNA test intended to prove her claims drew criticism from Native American groups.

That issue resurfaced this week after The Washington Post published a copy of Warren’s 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas on which she identified her ethnicity as “American Indian.”

The Democratic senator apologized for her past ancestry claims after the report Wednesday, clarifying that she is not a member of any tribe and had instead relied on family stories growing up as the basis for claiming Native American heritage.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, took a swipe at Warren on Saturday minutes before her announcement, accusing her of using her past ancestry claims to further her legal career.

"Elizabeth Warren has already been exposed as a fraud by the Native Americans she impersonated and disrespected to advance her professional career, and the people of Massachusetts she deceived to get elected,” Parscale said in a statement.

Likewise, the Republican National Committee (RNC), wasted no time in rebuking Warren on Saturday, decrying her policy proposals as “socialist” and insisting that her past ancestry claims had eroded her support.

“We’ve always known that Elizabeth Warren’s socialist policies were far outside the mainstream,” Michael Ahrens, a spokesperson for the RNC, said in a statement. “But Warren’s disastrous handling of her false minority claims and her refusal to apologize until now has everyone, including her own supporters, cringing at her campaign.”

A review last year by The Boston Globe of documents pertaining to Warren’s legal career showed that ethnicity was not taken into account as she landed jobs at several universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

Warren, a former law professor who has built a reputation as a fierce critic of Wall Street and the financial services industry, first entered the Senate in 2013 after defeating incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

She quickly defined herself as a progressive firebrand, especially through her position on the Senate Banking Committee. Since then, she has found herself among a handful of politicians floated as possible presidential candidates.

In mounting a White House bid, Warren will have to vie against a crowded field of Democratic contenders, including several of her Senate colleagues. So far, Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Gabbard calls for congressional inquiry over Afghanistan war report Overnight Defense: Bombshell report reveals officials misled public over progress in Afghanistan | Amazon accuses Trump of 'improper pressure' in Pentagon contract decision | House Judiciary holds final impeachment hearing MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Buttigieg slips into fourth place as Biden widens lead Yang qualifies for December Democratic debate The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Shooting in Jersey City leaves multiple people dead, including police officer Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first MORE (N.J.) have announced campaigns of their own.

Other political giants, like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE and Sanders, are said to be nearing campaign announcements as well.

Updated at 1:05 p.m.