Elizabeth Warren in Raleigh: ‘Nasty women vote in North Carolina’

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday urged a crowd at Meredith College to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton – and responded to Republican Donald Trump’s recent insult with a few of her own.

During the rally, Warren called Trump a “bully,” “a small, insecure money-grubber” and “a selfish little sleazeball.”

“I’ve got news for Donald Trump and Richard Burr – nasty women vote in North Carolina,” said Warren, a first-term senator from Massachusetts. Trump called Clinton “a nasty woman” in last week’s final debate between the two presidential candidates in Las Vegas.

“We’ve switched it from Trump’s meaning. It’s defiant and powerful,” said Amy Wamble, 55, an audience member from Raleigh.

Speaking at a women’s college that celebrated its 125th anniversary last year, Warren took the stage shortly after U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross, the Democrat who is challenging Republican Burr in his run for a third term. Warren began by telling the audience about her humble beginnings as the fourth child of a janitor. During the event, Warren said Clinton and other Democrats are committed to creating an economy of equality that does not just benefit those at the top.

“Donald Trump sits around and talks about how things are rigged,” Warren said. “Yeah, you're damn right they're rigged.”

She also reminded the audience of what she said are among the tenets of the Democratic Party: a woman’s right to have an abortion; that “black lives matter”; expansion of Social Security; and the need to combat climate change. Warren called Clinton and Ross’s agenda “a North Carolina agenda” and “an American agenda.”

“Most of all, she has basic decency ... and that's why I’m with her,” Warren said of Clinton before exiting the stage amid a standing ovation.

The Trump campaign issued a statement on the rally. Jason Simmons, state director for the campaign, said Warren’s visit to Raleigh “reinforces that Hillary Clinton is just part of the Northeast liberal establishment that has caused deep hardship in North Carolina through implementation of the failed Obamacare law.”

North Carolina is a key battleground state in this year’s presidential race. Clinton and Trump have held more than a dozen events in the state, with several more scheduled this week as Nov. 8 approaches.

Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence campaigned in Salisbury and Greensboro Monday. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife on Tuesday and Wednesday in Rocky Mount, Greenville and other Eastern North Carolina cities. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean also campaigned for Clinton Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Trump visited Kinston for a rally. Thursday, Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama will campaign in Winston-Salem.

Clinton has also promoted North Carolina Democrats, urging support for Ross and gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, who is challenging Gov. Pat McCrory.

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler