Republicans agree with … Elizabeth Warren?

National Harbor, Maryland CNN  — 

At first glance, they could easily fit in at an Elizabeth Warren rally.

They want to break up the big banks. They don’t trust Wall Street and bemoan its outsized role in politics. They are worried about the growing gap between the poor and the rich. And they think it’s just a matter of time before the country is hit with another financial crisis.

But far from being acolytes of the liberal Massachusetts senator, they are the attendees at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

In interviews with CNN, a dozen conservative activists at CPAC this week voiced some of the very concerns that helped vault Warren to celebrity status among Democrats.

“I don’t like them,” Diane Marie, a self-employed Ted Cruz fan from Chicago, said of big banks. “I just think they have too much power, too much control.”

Tom Ferguson, 69, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, said the growing gap between the rich and poor is “devastating.”

“There are more poor and as a result the gap has definitely gotten bigger,” said Ferguson, who is currently supporting Ben Carson.

He added about bankers on Wall Street: “I don’t trust them. They are all crooks.”

warren carry

Warren’s name was even invoked on stage Thursday by one potential GOP presidential candidate.

‘Warren is right’

“Elizabeth Warren is right: crony capitalism is alive and well,” said Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who’s actively eyeing a White House run.

READ: Elizabeth Warren’s supporters look for their next win

But ask the very same crowd at this annual gathering how they feel about Warren, and the reaction is full of disdain.

“That crazy lady? Whereas I’m over here, she’s on the other end of the room,” said James Dilmore, a 20-year-old from Shipley, Florida, who supports Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. “She’s like a hardcore, Democrats’ Democrat. We don’t like her. She’s as far away from Rand as she possibly could be.”

The support for some of Warren’s top priorities among CPAC participants — reining in big banks, closing the income gap and getting corporate money out of politics — illustrates the overlap of ideological beliefs between conservatives and populist liberals. It’s also an indication of how widely unpopular Wall Street remains with voters more than six years after the onset of the financial crisis.

In Washington, concern about the power of big banks has brought together lawmakers on opposite sides of the political aisle — Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and David Vitter (R-La.) jointly introduced legislation in 2013 that would require the country’s top banks to set aside more money in the event of an sudden economic shock.

But the two wings fundamentally disagree in other aspects.

If Warren and her liberal colleagues are staunch defenders of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and support strengthening government oversight of the financial industry, conservatives instinctively balk at any mention of federal regulations.

“That’s where a conservative begins – that somehow the hand of the government is awkward and inefficient and that regulations are simply a cost,” said Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen. “A group such as ourselves see regulations as a necessity to protect consumers and make sure that the economy is relatively fair.”

Diverging views

These diverging views were on clear display at CPAC.

A robust contingent of Paul supporters that gave the libertarian senator an enthusiastic welcome on Friday as they waved “I Stand With Rand” posters said in numerous interviews that they share his animosity towards the Federal Reserve. They are enthusiastic about Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill — a proposal that would require a review of the central bank’s monetary policy deliberaitons — and some even want the organization to be abolished altogether.

“They’re the one that’s handling the money and we have no idea what they’re doing,” said Denise Geoffroy, a 16-year-old from Rhode Island who voted for Paul in the CPAC straw poll.

On the issue of income inequality, conservative activists were dismissive of the notion that the government could play any productive role in bridging the divide between the poor and the wealthy.

“Big government is what’s causing it,” said Maggie Wright, 69, of Burleson, Texas. “There are so many people that are able to work but are getting handouts and dependent on the government.”

Still, financial watchdogs and reform advocates are optimistic that the convergence of conservatives and liberals on issues like Wall Street’s influence in Washington can help elevate their cause.

“While we might not agree on the solutions, both the progressives and the right are upset when we see wealthy, powerful elites and corporate interests pushing real people out of policy making decisions and dominating the political debate,” said Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director of Democracy for America. “Both sides loathe the degree to which our leaders work with big business to write the rules to benefit themselves, rather than everyone else.”