Elizabeth Warren CNN town hall

By Veronica Rocha and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 11:11 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019
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10:00 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Warren calls for "full-blown conversation about reparations"

From CNN's Greg Krieg

Sen. Elizabeth Warren signaled on Monday night that she would support a proposal to form a congressional panel to consider reparations to the descendants of slaves.

“I believe it’s time to start the national, full-blown conversation about reparations,” Warren said. “That means I support the bill in the House to appoint a congressional panel of experts, of people who are studying this, who talk about different ways we may be able to do it, and to make a report back to Congress so that we can as a nation do what’s right and begin to heal.”

A bit about that bill: H.R. 40 is called the Reparations Study Act and was first introduced by former Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers three decades ago. Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, also a Democrat, reintroduced it after Conyers left Congress.

Asked by moderator Jake Tapper if she would be open to monetary compensation in the form of direct payments, Warren said she was open to “a lot of ways” reparations could be formulated.

“I love the idea of this congressional commission,” she said, adding that “a national recognition” or “apology” was immediately appealing.

She added: “Ignoring the problem is not working."

9:12 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Warren: White supremacists pose a threat to the US just like ISIS and al Qaeda

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, speaking at tonight's town hall, said white nationalism poses a threat to the US like any other terrorist group.

Warren went on to say that white nationalism must be called out, and white supremacists must be prosecuted when they break the law.

"It starts with the fact that we have to recognize the threat posed by white nationalism. White supremacists pose a threat to the United States like any other terrorist group, like ISIS, like Al Qaeda and leadership starts at the top," she said.

9:04 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Elizabeth Warren takes the stage

"Hey Jake!"

An enthusiastic Sen. Elizabeth Warren just took the stage at Jackson State University, and, after telling CNN's Jake Tapper she missed teaching, quickly took her first question.

She was asked what message she might have for poor, white, rural voters in deep red Mississippi.

9:01 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

SOON: Warren will take the stage for her town hall

CNN
CNN

Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren will soon take the stage at Jackson State University in Mississippi for tonight's CNN town hall.

"Tonight our grassroots movement has a chance to tell our story and talk about the big ideas we’re fighting for," the Massachusetts senator tweeted earlier today.

Here's a look behind the scenes of CNN's town hall:

CNN
CNN

8:52 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Why these young voters came out to Warren's town hall tonight

We just talked with three young women who were on their way into tonight's town hall, and asked them why they came. Here's what they said:

Jasmine Lee/CNN
Jasmine Lee/CNN

Brenna Michael, 19

"It's rare that a Democrat comes to Mississippi and is speaking in an environment where college students are at."

Jasmine Lee/CNN
Jasmine Lee/CNN

Kyla Cole, 18

"I want to know about her platform and just to be educated"
Jasmine Lee/CNN
Jasmine Lee/CNN

AK Singleton, 20

"At this point, it is very overwhelming to know kind of where everyone stands on every issues, what issues they do care about, what issues they don't necessarily care about and then going forward it's super important to get educated really early on," she said.
8:36 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

They're here tonight with an open mind, seeking an honest leader with integrity

Jasmine Lee/CNN
Jasmine Lee/CNN

Sally Fran Ross and her two friends, Harriet Tanzman and Pat Hall, are keeping an open mind tonight.

"I really want to see a female, but what I am looking for is character meaning integrity," Ross said. "Somebody that's honest, Somebody that wants to serve as a leader."

Hall said she didn't know much about Elizabeth Warren, and thought she appeared to be "flaky."

But once she started reading up on her background, she realized there was a lot more to Warren.

8:23 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Warren wants to challenge the super wealthy and corporate giants

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign in February, joins a number of her Democratic colleagues in the Senate in the race for the White House.

The Massachusetts senator has unveiled several major policies this year aimed at dismantling wealthy and powerful interests.

Here are some of her key policies:

  • She's released a plan to break up tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook.
  • Warren has also proposed a sweeping universal child care plan
  • In January, Warren released a "wealth tax" plan aimed at the most affluent Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million. Her child care plan would be paid by a part of the revenue from her proposed wealth tax.

We expect to hear more about these tonight. Tune in at 9 p.m. ET.

8:28 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Warren talks up housing plan during two stops in Mississippi Delta on her way to Jackson

From CNN's Greg Krieg and Annie Grayer

Elizabeth Warren sought to draw attention to her ambitious housing plan, and the federal government’s failure to combat poverty in the Mississippi Delta, during a pair of stops en route to tonight's town hall in Jackson.

Following an Sunday event in Memphis, Warren on Monday first stopped in Cleveland, Mississippi, where she walked with state Sen. Willie Simmons from the home of Civil Rights leader Amzie Moore up a street marked by deserted lots and decaying small family homes – including one that had been burned out and abandoned, but never knocked down – on their way to his restaurant, “The Senator’s Place.”

“The federal government ought to be a better partner for communities like Cleveland,” Warren said as she spoke to 46-year-old Kenyarda Graham, who sat on a plastic crate across the street from his mother’s house, where he’d been born and raised.

Graham said he recognized Warren, but didn’t know she was running for president.

“Right now feeling how I am, I feel like I’m losing weight,” he told her, describing the community’s struggles with poverty and addiction. “I know I’m not healthy.”

Kenyarda Graham speaks to Elizabeth Warren in the Mississippi Delta on Monday, March 18, 2019.
Kenyarda Graham speaks to Elizabeth Warren in the Mississippi Delta on Monday, March 18, 2019. Greg Krieg/CNN

Trailed by reporters and cameras, Warren embraced residents and onlookers, talking up her plan for major new investments in similar neighborhoods. The tableau at points recalled Robert F. Kennedy’s visit 1967 visit to the Delta region, which was racked by poverty and starvation – a trip encouraged and led by activist Marian Wright, a young NAACP attorney who as Marian Wright Edelman (she married close Kennedy aide Peter Edelman) would go on to found the Children’s Defense Fund. Kennedy’s trip shone a spotlight on hunger in the region, over the objection segregationist elected officials.

Addressing reporters on the street, Warren tied her housing plan – which is derived from her American Housing and Economic Mobility Act legislation -- to other proposals, like expanding health care and infrastructure spending.

“I know there's a lot that goes into making a community work and one of the things I've been talking about with (state Sen. Simmons) is money for rehabilitating housing, money to build new houses,” Warren said on Monday. “I see a lot of gaps and spaces, but we've also put money in this bill to help out making a community work.”

Robert Sanders, a city alderman in Ward 2, dropped back from the throng of reporters as the tour concluded and made its way into Simmons’ popular restaurant, which had been featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” Sanders said he was glad that Warren visited the Delta and not, as other candidates had in the past, stuck only to larger cities like Jackson.

He also made the point that issues facing the families in the neighborhood aren’t a creation of the Trump era.

Public investments “that could be vital here is being placed in other areas, but not specifically the Mississippi Delta," Sanders said. "But there was need before Donald Trump took office, as well. We just need to make sure we're prioritized."

7:58 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Elizabeth Warren to face voters tonight at a CNN Presidential Town Hall

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren will soon face questions at a live CNN town hall tonight in Jackson Mississippi.

The town hall, moderated CNN's Jake Tapper, starts at 9 p.m. ET at Jackson State University.

Earlier today, Warren toured an impoverished neighborhood in Cleveland, Mississippi, CNN's MJ Lee reported.

Lee noted that the visit is "one way to remind voters that she has a housing plan to address the housing crisis."

Warren is fighting to stand out among the growing group of Democratic candidates running for president in 2020. She and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran for president in 2016, have both rolled out incredibly similar campaigns and proposed policies. 

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