WASHINGTON (AP) — Linking arms in a Capitol Hill ballroom, Hillary Clinton received a public embrace Monday from 13 female Democratic senators who praised her as a trailblazing leader ready to be president. But there was one noticeable absence: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Clinton joined with a power base of female Senate Democrats, who said a second Clinton in the White House would ensure that generations of young women would view a female president as a normal course of American progress — a notion Clinton welcomed.
"If you're ready for me, I'm ready for you," Clinton said on a stage that included 13 chairs — one for each senator.
Clinton has locked up dozens of endorsements from governors and members of Congress. Monday's fundraising event with 1,000 supporters served notice to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's main rival, who has served with many of the same female lawmakers for years.
"She's got the right stuff and it's her time to be president," said Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who pointed out that women first gained the right to vote in 1920. "Don't you think after 95 years we should have a woman president?"
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the "symbolism" of Clinton's campaign was important. "I want every young woman, every young girl, to be able to look at the president of the United States and see someone who looks a little bit like herself," she said.
The event also underscored how Warren remains a major holdout for Clinton, who appeared alongside Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Sunday at an event in the city's famed Faneuil Hall.
After declining a draft movement to run for president, Warren has played a major role in pushing the Democratic field to address economic inequality, college affordability and tougher regulations on Wall Street.
Warren told the Boston Globe in September that she would likely endorse during the primaries but said at the time, "Right now that's not where we are." Her spokeswoman declined comment on the Clinton event.
Warren was among a large group of female senators who urged Clinton to run for president in a private letter sent in 2013. She has been promoting a corporate tax overhaul recently and by withholding her endorsement, she maintains leverage among a Democratic field courting her support.
Many of Warren's supporters have gravitated to Sanders, who frequently says the nation's economic system is "rigged," a term often used by Warren.
Sanders said in a statement that he and Warren "speak often about the major issues facing the country" and he looks "forward to continuing to work with Senator Warren."
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