(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Elizabeth Warren, the U.S. Senate candidate from Massachusetts, sharply criticized the Republican Party, millionaires and corporate leaders in a prime-time speech to the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, accusing them of denying a level playing field to the middle class.

Following her own well-trodden path of populist advocacy for consumers, families and the poor, Warren lamented that "the game is rigged against them" -- that they've been "chipped, squeezed and hammered."
Republican Mitt Romney would reinforce that rigged system, she said -- while President Obama would continue his work to dismantle it.

“Republicans say they don't believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends,” Warren said. “After all, Mitt Romney's the guy who said corporations are people.”

Warren added: “No, Gov. Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters.”

The hall erupted in chants of "Warren, Warren, Warren" before she spoke a word. Delegates cheers and thundered as she made the case that President Obama would use a second term to protect and restore the strength of the middle class by, among other things, investing in education and roads and bridges and by protecting the agencies that police corporations and help consumers.

"He believes in a country where nobody gets a free ride or a golden parachute," she said. "A country where anyone who has a great idea and rolls up their sleeves has a chance to build a business, and anyone who works hard can build some security and raise a family."

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