Clinton courts Warren input ahead of 2016

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton has reached out to Elizabeth Warren "several times" over the past six months, says a source with knowledge
  • This relationship included a December meeting and a phone call between the two Democratic leaders

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton has sought advice from dozens of people over the past several months in the run up to a likely presidential bid, but one such source stands out from the rest: Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Clinton has reached out to the Massachusetts senator "several times" over the past six months, a source with knowledge of Clinton's plans told CNN on Tuesday, a sign of how important Warren's wing of the Democratic party is to the foundation of a would-be presidential bid for the former secretary of state.
The two met privately at the former secretary of state's Washington, D.C. home in December, according to the source, and have talked on the phone, as well. The New York Times first reported the December meeting on Tuesday.
    "Secretary Clinton really values Senator Warren and has reached out several times over the past six months," the source added.
    The senator's office has not responded to questions about the meeting.
    The Clinton-Warren relationship is part of the former first lady's months-long process of soliciting ideas and seeking advice from leading Democrats as she prepares for an all-but-certain 2016 run. Since the 2014 midterms, Clinton has prepared for 2016 by meeting and talking with top Democrats about the strategy, tactics and policy that would make a possible Clinton run in 2016 campaign successful.
    But the meetings and phone calls are also seemingly an attempt by Clinton to satisfy what has been persistent calls from the left for the 2016 Democratic nominee to focus on income inequality, Wall Street reform and raising up the middle class.
    Warren, who is seen as the heart and soul of the Democratic left on those issues, has been the focus of a few draft campaigns since the 2014 midterms. Left leaning groups like Democracy for America and MoveOn.org, as well as the new Ready for Warren campaign, have knocked Clinton's centrism and created sometimes negative headlines for the Democratic frontrunner.
    Although the senator has repeatedly disavowed the efforts and said she will not run for president in 2016, she will undoubtedly direct some of the presidential conversation from her perch in the Senate and if they are not satisfied and courted, her supporters could continue to be an annoyance for Clinton.
    Erica Sagrans, the Ready for Warren campaign manager, said Tuesday that the meeting is another sign Clinton "is among a growing number of Democratic leaders who admire" Warren's liberal positions.
    "This is why we're calling on Warren to run for president in 2016 -- so that we have a real Democratic primary debate about the issues that matter, and so voters can get behind a fearless champion for working families," Sagrans added.
    The Clinton-Warren meetings and calls also show growth in a relationship that looked awkward in 2014.
    While campaigning for Massachusetts' Democratic gubernatorial candidate in October, Clinton was effusive in her praise for Warren, labeling her "the passionate champion for working people and middle class families."
    "I love watching Elizabeth," Clinton added, touting her ability to "you know, give it those who deserve to get it."
    Warren, however, wasn't so effusive and barely mentioned the former secretary of state who was headlining the event.
    "Happy to welcome Secretary Clinton back to the commonwealth," Warren said, firing up the crowd. "We love it!"