One Iowa caucus moment: Undecided Booker supporters warm up to Warren

By: - January 18, 2020 7:35 pm

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at a candidate forum in Des Moines sponsored by Planned Parenthood Action Fund. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren demurred Saturday when a woman at a Des Moines house party asked her about the recent dispute with Sen. Bernie Sanders that was publicized before  this week’s debate. But she impressed the former Cory Booker supporter nevertheless.

Tanya Keith, 48, of Des Moines, told Warren, “As a woman working in construction and reporting on sports, I believe you 100 percent,” she said, referring to an allegation that Sanders told Warren in 2018 that a woman couldn’t win the presidency.

Keith asked for Warren’s plan to win Sanders’ supporters over in the general election, “because I feel like that was a mistake that we made in the Clinton campaign” in 2016.

Warren responded:  “Let me start by saying, Bernie and I have been friends a long time. We fight for the same issues, we’ve been allies in these battles. Long before I ever got into politics, I knew Bernie and we worked together on a whole lot of issues that affect working people, families, poor people around this country.  That’s all I want to say about that topic. Because what I truly believe is we have to pull together.”

Keith, a Des Moines author who also works in historic preservation and construction, was one of several supporters of Booker at the Warren event. She described herself as “totally heartbroken” to be shopping for a new candidate.

Warren didn’t completely answer her question, she said, but she was pleased with the Massachusetts senator’s response nevertheless. 

“I feel like she didn’t answer directly but she kind of gave me what I was looking for,” Keith said. She said she wanted to be convinced that “what happened in 2016 is not going to happen again” if Democrats nominate another white woman from the Northeast.

She pointed to Warren’s remarks about the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March being a turning point.  “That really resonated with me,” Keith said.

Warren spoke Saturday at a candidate forum sponsored by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which promotes abortion rights.  She pledged to work to put abortion rights into federal law so that it would override restrictions passed by states.

She said she wore a pink Planned Parenthood scarf at Trump’s inauguration “and I wore it at the minute I watched our nation change. And then, 24 hours later, when I spoke at the Women’s March in Boston, I wore it again and watched the world change again.” 

She added, “And one more, I’m going to wear it the day I’m sworn in as the first woman president of the United States of America.”

This was just one of thousands of moments all over Iowa this week in which presidential candidates have worked to change minds or win over undecided voters. 

State Rep. Jennifer Konfrst is a Windsor Heights Democrat.

State Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, also had endorsed Booker before he dropped out of the race. She joked that Booker, who was in town to thank supporters, spotted on Twitter that she was at the Warren event and messaged her:  “Oh, I see how it is.”

Konfrst said she hasn’t committed to another candidate yet.  “I haven’t made any final decisions yet,” she said. But when asked if anyone was in the lead, she chirped, “Yep!” 

Asked if that leader was Warren, she grinned.  “I’m happy to be here!”




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