Elizabeth Warren gives liberals the speech they’ve been waiting for (VIDEO)

September 9, 2013

Elizabeth Warren's first eight months as U.S. senator could be described as understated or below-the-radar. But the Massachusetts liberal Democrat's speech Sunday at the AFL-CIO's convention in Los Angeles was just the opposite.

Just take a look below at the last 90 seconds of Warren's speech, in which the freshman senator struck a populist tone, declaring: "Our agenda is America's agenda. The American people know that the system is rigged against them and they want us to level the playing field. That's our mandate. That's what we're here to do."

The speech was reminiscent the populist, fiery Warren from the 2012 campaign who excited the political left in and outside Massachusetts, raised heaping sums of money, and appeared poised to take up the liberal mantle in the Senate.

Warren also took aim Sunday at a Supreme Court she sees as far too conservative. She talked about the "corporate capture of the federal courts" (words she has used before), and added, "You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business," according to Politico.

Warren's prepared remarks also included digs at the agendas of Republican governors in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, talk about raising the minimum wage, and a reminder about her push to bring back Glass-Steagall.

In short, it was a speech chock full of items at the top of the list for many liberals.

The speech also reinforced the potential Warren has for higher office. While Warren has shown no signs she is gearing up for a presidential bid (or is really even thinking about higher office) and has kept a notably low public profile on Capitol Hill, there is arguably no other Democrat who resonates as much on the left as Warren does right now in terms of policy, speaking ability and fundraising heft.

The question moving forward is whether we will see more in the coming months of the Warren the AFL-CIO convention witnessed Sunday or the senator who has been quiet publicly on Capitol Hill.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Chris Cillizza | September 9, 2013