Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on Thursday, December 19, in Los Angeles.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on Thursday, December 19, in Los Angeles.
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
(CNN) —  

Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew considerable applause during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate when she redirected a comment about her age and the fact that, if elected, she’d be the oldest president ever inaugurated.

“I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” she said.

Warren, 70, was responding to a moderator’s question regarding former President Barack Obama’s comments earlier this week that if women were in charge there would be “significant improvement” on “just about everything.” Her pointed retort underscored the heated discussions over diversity that dominated the least diverse and most male-dominated debate of the entire Democratic primary campaign.

“I believe that President Obama was talking about who has power in America. Whose voices get heard. I believe he’s talking about women and people of color and trans people and people whose voices just so often get shoved out. And for me the best way to understand that is look at how people are running their campaigns in 2020,” Warren said.

“You know, I made the decision when I decided to run not to do business as usual and now I’m crowding in on 100,000 selfies. That’s 100,000 hugs and handshakes and stories,” she added. “Stories from people that are struggling with student loan debt. Stories from people who can’t pay their medical bills. Stories from people who can’t find child care.”

Warren, who launched her presidential campaign last February, has built her campaign around a continuous rollout of populist-driven policies. She held 16% support among registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents heading into the debate, according to a CNN poll released Thursday.

The Massachusetts Democrat drew on her progressive credentials to conclude her response Thursday, contrasting her presidential bid with “traditional” campaigns that travel “from coast to coast to rich people.”

“In a democracy we all have a lot of points of view and everybody gets one vote, but here’s the thing: People that can put down $5,000 to have a picture taken don’t have the same priorities as people who are struggling with student loan debt or struggling to pay off medical debt,” she said.

“I want – I’m running a campaign where people whose voices get heard. We can’t have – we can’t have people who can put down $5,000 for a check drowning out the voices of everyone else. They don’t in my campaign and they won’t in my White House.”