Hillary Clinton praises Elizabeth Warren in Time's most influential list

Massachusetts senator ‘never hesitates to hold powerful people’s feet to the fire’, writes Clinton, while Rand Paul lauds the Koch brothers

Hillary Clinton has used the publication of Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world to praise Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who many on the American left would like to see challenge the former secretary of state for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Elsewhere in the list, the Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul celebrates the hardline conservative billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch – saying that they have “consistently lobbied against special-interest politics”.

The list is chosen by Time’s writers and editors. Clinton wrote the magazine’s piece about Warren, who was named among the “leaders” in the list published on Thursday. The other categories are “icons”, “artists”, “pioneers” and “titans” – each celebrated by another famous person, often themselves placed somewhere on the list.

Clinton’s own entry, also in the leaders category, is written by the less well-known Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and chair of social-justice advocacy group the Emerson Collective. Elsewhere, the former New York Times editor Jill Abramson praises the Harry Potter actor and activist Emma Watson and Martha Stewart sings the praises of Kim Kardashian. Kardashian’s husband and fellow titan Kanye West features on the cover.

Other cover stars, one for each category, are ballerina Misty Copeland (pioneer), actor Bradley Cooper (artist), Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos (leader) and the occasionally tipsy supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (icon).

Barack Obama, who has a little under two years left in the White House after passing comprehensive healthcare reform, building relations with Cuba and striking a nuclear deal with Iran, made the list. So did Bob Bob Corker, the chair of the Senate foreign relations committee who is sponsoring a bill that could undo that deal with Iran.

Warren has said consistently that she will not run for president. Clinton declared her candidacy – her second, after defeat by Obama in the Democratic primaries of 2008 – on Sunday.

“It was always going to take a special kind of leader to pick up Ted Kennedy’s mantle as senior senator from Massachusetts,” Clinton writes of Warren, referring to the youngest Kennedy brother, who died in 2009.

Clinton says Kennedy’s mantle confers upon its wearer the need to be a “champion of working families and scourge of special interests”.

Clinton then provides a checklist of policy positions many would like to see Warren bring to the 2016 race, and which many suspect the former secretary of state and first lady will not.

“Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street’s irresponsible risk-taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished,” Clinton writes. “And she never hesitates to hold powerful people’s feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials and, yes, even presidential aspirants.”

Of the Koch brothers, whose influence on US democracy after the Citizens United supreme court ruling on political funding and through their backing of the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) has been heavily criticized, Paul writes: “Charles and David Koch are well known for their business success, their generous philanthropic efforts and for their focus on innovation in management. Some also know them for their activism in the political realm.

“All of these are important contributions to society. What is underappreciated is their passion for freedom and their commitment to ideas. Unlike many crony capitalists who troll the halls of Congress looking for favors, the Kochs have consistently lobbied against special-interest politics.”

Touching on a key plank of his attempted appeal to liberal voters, Paul continues: “[The Kochs] have always stood for freedom, equality and opportunity. Consistent with their love of liberty, they have become prominent advocates for criminal-justice reform.”

Finally, he predicts: “The Koch brothers’ investment in freedom-loving think tanks will carry on for generations, reminding all of us that ideas and convictions ultimately trump all else.”

Time’s readers voted Vladimir Putin the most influential person in the world.

The Russian president “edged out rapper-singer CL (of the South Korean girl-group 2NE1) to claim the number one spot with 6.95% of the votes”.

  • This article was amended on 16 April 2015, to say that Barack Obama was in fact named in the Time list.


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

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