A woman with ideas: Warren holds first New York rally

Catherine TRIOMPHE
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Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren holds a campaign rally in New York City's Washingotn Square Park

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren holds a campaign rally in New York City's Washingotn Square Park (AFP Photo/Drew Angerer)

New York (AFP) - Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren energized several thousand New Yorkers on Monday with a list of ideas for fixing a "broken" American system she says only benefits the rich.

For her first election rally in the American metropolis, a Democratic stronghold, the 70-year-old senator from Massachusetts was treated to an enthusiastic welcome from a crowd massed in front of the arch in the famous Washington Square Park in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Warren, who has steadily climbed in the polls in recent weeks but still trails former vice president Joe Biden, listed her proposals aimed at reviving an American democracy that she deems corrupt, to applause and repeated cries of "Warren! Warren! Warren!"

From energy giants to health insurance companies, the gun industry and elected officials beholden to lobbyists, everyone has an interest in perpetuating a system to enrich themselves on the backs of working families, the ex-Republican hammered home from the podium.

But the former Harvard law professor repeatedly said: "I have a plan for that" -- a phrase that peppers her speeches like a chorus, and which appears on the t-shirts of her supporters.

Her plans range from requiring candidates to publish their tax returns to providing health insurance for all, and the cancelation of almost all student debt.

- 'Warren is the one' -

She intends to finance her policies with a tax on the rich: two cents of every dollar of income over $50 million, a proposal applauded by residents of the US financial capital, who chanted "Two cents! Two cents! Two cents!"

Can Warren win the 2020 Democratic nomination? Many of her supporters admit it's too early to say, with the primaries in which the candidate to take on Trump will be chosen not starting until early next year.

But the number of people who believe in Warren's chances is on the rise, and the line on Monday for people to take a "selfie" with her was seemingly endless.

"I'm just getting to know the candidates (but) it's just becoming clearer and clearer that Elizabeth Warren is the one. I don't see anyone better than her," said Ellen Downing, a 69-year-old from upstate New York.

"She seems like somebody who has a lot of ideas for solving the many problems this country has," said Rebecca Hatcher, 49, from Connecticut.

Alan Siege, a New Yorker, has not decided anything yet, but wanted to see someone "who is more about what could be as opposed to what is -- like Biden."

"I question whether he can attract and excite people like I think she can," said Siege.

"Obviously I want to defeat Trump, and I am still trying to figure out the best way to do that."