Elizabeth Warren: I won't run for president

Massachusetts senator offers her most definitive answer to date

Published January 13, 2015 5:24PM (EST)

Elizabeth Warren         (AP/Charles Dharapak)
Elizabeth Warren (AP/Charles Dharapak)

Despite a concerted progressive push to draft the Massachusetts senator into the 2016 race, Elizabeth Warren says in a new interview that she won't run for president.

For months, Warren has insisted that she's "not running for president," employing a present-tense phrase that to many Warren acolytes suggested she may be open to entering the contest. But in a Fortune Magazine interview with former Federal Deposit Insurance Commission chair Sheila Bair, Warren offers a more definitive answer.

The wide-ranging interview touched on subjects including the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, Warren's favorite president (Theodore Roosevelt, "the trust buster"), and the tax code. Bair also broached the 2016 issue, asking Warren, "So are you going to run for president?"

"No," Warren flatly replied.

The senator made clear, however, that she wants to see candidates take up the issues that have defined her public career.

"[F]or both sides, the proof will be in the pudding. Who is willing to stand up for Wall Street accountability? Who is willing to take on the powerful by closing tax loopholes so that we have the money to invest in education, infrastructure, and research," Warren said. "Who’s willing to make the hard choices? The candidates need to say something concrete. This can’t be a silent game, with a lot of nice platitudes. There needs to be something real."

Warren's decision not to pursue a presidential bid comes as she has assumed newfound influence in the Senate. After the Democrats' midterm drubbing, then-Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed Warren to a Democratic leadership post in policy and communications. Shortly thereafter, Warren led the congressional fight against a provision in last year's massive spending bill that pared back Dodd-Frank regulations on risky financial instruments. Warren was unable to scuttle the deregulatory provision, but her crusade against it cemented her status as a leader of the Democratic Party's progressive wing -- a status that was underscored this week, as investment banker Antonio Weiss withdrew his nomination to a senior Treasury Department post. Warren had led the charge against Weiss' nomination.

Although Warren appears to see her future in the Senate, the progressive groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America have joined forces in an effort to convince her to seek the presidency next year. There's also a Ready for Warren super PAC, which the senator's lawyer formally disavowed last year.

By Luke Brinker

MORE FROM Luke Brinker