Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren makes her debut in super-awkward press conference

posted at 4:06 pm on November 9, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

While we’re evaluating and recriminating, parsing the failures of our own side, perhaps this can offer a small bit of solace— a quantum, even. On the heels of her victory over Sen. Scott Brown Tuesday, Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, Ivy League stand-out and star of the liberal elite who may very well be dictating the rules of the nation’s entire banking system, held her first press conference.

Even the Boston Globe noticed her apparent incomplete comprehension of the idea of questions and answers:

It was a bit of a rough start for Senator-­elect Elizabeth Warren, who held her first official press conference following her victory Tuesday. Suddenly, the voluble Harvard Law School professor and longtime media commentator sounded uncertain and impatient, offering terse answers to questions about ­fiscal policy and the success of women candidates.

The performance was called “jittery” by the Boston Herald. You’re not kiddin’. Take a look at what the jitters can do:

“I’m glad” was all she said when asked to expound on the support she ­received from women voters and on the influx of women elected Tuesday. Asked to elaborate, she refused, saying: “I’m glad that women turned out to vote for me. I’m delighted.”

Asked a third time, Warren turned to Governor Deval Patrick, who was standing at her side at the State House press conference. “You want to try this?” she said.

She offered no opinion on avoiding the “fiscal cliff” or protecting defense spending from sequestration, a question she also oddly lobbed to Patrick, who protected her:

After being asked her first question — how she’d protect defense spending — Warren was silent as she turned to Patrick.

“Defense spending is you,” Patrick prodded Warren.

“Oh, that’s mine,” Warren replied.

After Warren fielded the question, Patrick stepped in to answer the follow-up.

“Let me start,” said Patrick, shielding Warren from having to answer.

Another Globe writer, Brian McGrory, bristled, warning Warren that holding the people’s seat means answering to the people.

The Herald called in an expert to evaluate possible causes of Warren’s odd showing, which I appreciate because if this is the kind of candidate the Oprah-ization of elections creates, then let’s go full Oprah:

U.S. Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren’s jittery first press conference since the election was likely a combination of the political neophyte’s exhaustion and caution as she gets ready to head to Washington, D.C., to take on the high-stakes job, according to a political observer.

“She’s been concentrating so hard on the campaign, I’m sure she’s pretty tired,” said John C. Berg, a political science professor at Suffolk University. “I also think she doesn’t want to go into the Senate having made commitments she regrets.”

Her response to the response to her weird press conference is also weird:

After a press conference in which she brushed aside several questions with terse answers Thursday, Elizabeth Warren gave an explanation for her reticence. Speaking to a handful of reporters after the press conference, she said she must be more discreet now that she is making the transition from candidate to senator-elect.

“Listen, all I can say is I was a lot more discreet as a candidate than I was in real life,” she said after meeting with Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo at the State House.

Turning to a press aide, she said: “Can I say that? Maybe it’s indiscreet to talk about discretion.”

It is odd. I don’t agree with her, but she was perfectly capable of simply talking on the campaign trail, which is a far more grueling environment, even for a Democrat in Massachusetts, than one’s inaugural press conference. She was all but guaranteed utterly expected questions and softballs, but she was asked the women question five times before she could even revert to basic talking points.

To be fair, I guess she’s still one up on this guy.

Here’s the video, although this is only part of it. I’ll keep looking for more.

To be fair, maybe she’s trying a new messaging strategy modeled on another famous effort pioneered by her ancestors— something like this.

And, just because, I’ll take the chance to fragrantly flog this, which I made this spring—Ken Burns Presents: Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign Trail of Tears

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You get the gubmint you deserve. Good luck, Massachusetts-Stan.

connertown on November 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM

She must be a swell professor.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM

The Massholes wanted a fake. They got a fake. Live with it.

GarandFan on November 9, 2012 at 7:15 PM

In terms of dignity, the GOP has her beat:

bifidis on November 9, 2012 at 4:29 PM

So, you’re saying that lil barry d’ohbama is undignified?

You’re semi-living proof that having your candidate win an election does not confer intelligence on his supporters.

(Yes, bif, I just called you stupid.)

Solaratov on November 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

. Good GRAVY woman, weren’t you a Harvard professor? I’m kind of undone by that press conference….did this woman fool everyone? So, so so, weird. And she’s testified brilliantly before Congress. So confusing and troubling…

libfreeordie on November 9, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Her testimony before congress was scripted, liveasaslaveanddie. She didn’t have to think and come up with her own answers.

And, no. She didn’t fool everyone. But she surer’n hell fooled you, didn’t she? Not to mention enough leftards to win a senate seat. Now, that doesn’t speak well for the intelligence of Mass. libtards at all.

Heh, heh, heh.

Solaratov on November 9, 2012 at 7:28 PM

She is a national embarrassment.

Tater Salad on November 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Thank you Massachusetts!

Al Franken and Minnesota thank you very, very much!

Bruno Strozek on November 9, 2012 at 5:26 PM

But really, -she’s no worse than John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, Jesse Jr, Hank Johnson, Sheila the Queen of Texas, Patty Murray, Nanny von Botox, etc, etc.

Brains are not required in the US Congress or White House.

slickwillie2001 on November 9, 2012 at 7:32 PM

.did this woman fool everyone?

libfreeordie on November 9, 2012 at 5:09 PM

No, just the people who voted for her.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Nay, nay. They are used to this stuff coming out of Ted Kennedy’s mouth. Remember that hilarious soundbite Rush has with Ted sounding incomprehensible?

IdrilofGondolin on November 10, 2012 at 9:02 AM

I know plenty of people in Ass-Achussets and this is perfect for them. They had Teddy “HIC” Kennedy in that seat for his life time. The citizens of that state are f’n crazy and they can have the biotch!

Tbone McGraw on November 10, 2012 at 9:34 AM

From a murderer to a faux indian. Mass is a bigger laugh this morning than Calif. Does she want the office next to Al Franken?

Kissmygrits on November 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Turning to a press aide, she said: “Can I say that? Maybe it’s indiscreet to talk about discretion.”

That sounds a lot like the “logic” employed by “Frank Burns” on *M*A*S*H*.
He too was a liar, complete moron, and incompetent extraordinaire.

Karl Magnus on November 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM

I think she must have had a pre-presser with Diane Sawyer.

TugboatPhil on November 10, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Warren is supported by the fellows at Car Talk, so there’s that, I guess.

Maybe they will make a puzzler about Warren.

Yuck, yuck, yuck!!

Sherman1864 on November 11, 2012 at 5:18 AM

Scott Brown was clearly a disappointment, but Warren may turn out to be a gift in disguise. She is the new Joe Biden, who will become so incoherent that what he says will not even be taken as “gaffes” but just Joe-being-Joe.

Elizabeth Warren suddenly drops into the spotlight from her professorial echo-chamber and has to put her colossal ignorance on display. She’s going to be a news-maker!

virgo on November 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Odd, the Cherokee Nation doesn’t know anything about her. Are you proud of yourself Massachusetts?

georgeofthedesert on November 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM