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Warren Reverses Pledge to Refuse PAC Money, Implies She’s Been Held to Sexist Double Standard

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks with supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, January 18, 2020. (Gage Skidmore)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) changed her tune on the nefarious influence of super PACs just days after receiving the backing of a newly formed PAC, telling reporters on Thursday that because “all of the men” in the race refused to rely entirely on individual donors, she shouldn’t be expected to either.

“It can’t be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t,” she said.

Warren, speaking to reporters in Nevada, tried to square her past disavowals of super PAC funding with her refusal to disavow a new PAC that made a $1 million television ad buy on her behalf this week. She argued that because she failed to convince other candidates to commit to her proposal of no PAC funding, she was forced to accept PAC support.

“The first day I got in this race, over a year ago, I said ‘I hope every presidential candidate who comes in will agree — no Super PACs for any of us,” Warren explained. “I renewed that call dozens of times, and I couldn’t get a single Democrat to go along with me.”

The pro-Warren “Persist” PAC filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday and booked $800,000 in television ads to run in Nevada, despite Warren’s previous criticisms of PAC money. During the New Hampshire Democratic Debate, she touted her lack of PAC support, saying “everyone on this stage except Amy [Klobuchar] and me is either a billionaire or is receiving help from PACs that can do unlimited spending.”

The day of the New Hampshire primary last week, Warren tweeted that she “won’t take a dime of PAC money in this campaign.”

“Senator Warren is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and win, and we’re going to ensure primary voters and caucusgoers hear her message,” Persist PAC spokesman Joshua Karp told The New York Times on the new venture. Warren’s campaign released a statement on Wednesday in response, which said her stance was “unchanged” on PACs, but did not direct the newly formed PAC to stand down.

Speaking Thursday, Warren went further, implying that she could not hold out any longer after “all of the men” still running against her “had either Super PACs, or they were multi-billionaires.”

“Finally, we reached the point a few weeks ago where all of the men who were still in this race and on the debate stage, all had either Super PACs, or they were multi-billionaires, and could just rummage around in their sock drawers and find enough money to be able to fund a campaign. And the only people who didn’t have them were the two women,” Warren argued.

Warren signaled that after a pro-Klobuchar PAC sprang up earlier this week to support the Minnesota Senator, she was not going to stand in the way.

“At that point, there were some women around the country who said, ‘you know, that’s just not right.’ So here’s where I stand — if all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in. I’ll lead the charge. But that’s how it has to be. It can’t be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t,” she stated.

The shift in tone comes after Warren slammed former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg during Wednesday’s Nevada debate for a history of sexist comments and non-disclosure agreements with female employees.

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