Bill Clinton's big fear: Elizabeth Warren 2016

The former president sees the progressive favorite as a threat to his wife's presidential ambitions, report says

Published December 3, 2014 2:12PM (EST)

  (AP/Charles Dharapak)
(AP/Charles Dharapak)

The prospect of an Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign is keeping Bill Clinton up at night, a new report reveals.

While most pundits currently view Hillary Clinton as the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, the Washington Post reports today that her camp is taking seriously the possibility that other candidates could complicate -- or even thwart -- her second White House bid. According to two sources close to the former secretary of state's husband, former President Bill Clinton is particularly vexed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a progressive favorite whose fierce criticism of Wall Street and big corporations has caught fire among liberal activists and stands in stark contrast to the Clintons' business-friendly centrism.

The Post's Anna Gearan writes that Bill Clinton "admires Warren’s stemwinder speaking style" and notes that Hillary Clinton sought to channel Warren's populist message during several of her midterm campaign appearances this year. But Clinton's attempts to sound Warrenesque themes occasionally proved awkward, as when she asserted that businesses and corporations don't create jobs. Clinton later said that she "shorthanded" her remarks.

While the Clintons are looking for ways to co-opt Warren's political brand, the senator has repeatedly insisted that she isn't running for president, although she cryptically said in October that "[t]here are amazing doors that could open."

Whether Warren mounts a progressive challenge to Clinton or not, she'll almost certainly continue to prove a thorn in Clintonites' sides. Warren has aggressively championed the reinstatement of the 1933 Glass-Steagall law, which separated commercial banking from investment banking and was effectively overturned by Bill Clinton in 1999 with his signing of landmark deregulatory legislation. Moreover, Warren's vocal opposition to the Obama administration's nomination of banker Antonio Weiss to a key Treasury Department post suggests that she'd hardly be a rubber stamp for a Hillary Clinton administration.

By Luke Brinker

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