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Who is US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren?

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Elizabeth Warren's campaign for the presidency possesses one element that money cannot buy and which is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Luck.

The senator from Massachusetts began her campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the shadow of two far better known candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

But the former Vice President is now bogged down in a clumsy defence of his son's business activities in Ukraine, and Bernie Sanders faces questions about his age and health following a minor heart attack while on the campaign trail.

But even before those set-backs for her principal rivals, Warren has captured the mood of party members who are desperate for policies and focus.

Elizabeth Warren is the standout rival to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden in the race for the Democrat nomination. Credit: AP

For the senator is a policy wonk. She does detail. She adores a plan.

In fact, her favourite phrase - her de facto campaign slogan - is: "I have a plan for that."

It invariably draws a laugh. Of course she has a plan. She's Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren's campaign for the presidency possesses one element that money cannot buy and which is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Luck. Credit: AP

It tells you something about her background and her intellect.

She's an academic, who taught at Harvard University and who specialised in bankruptcy law.

Perhaps that is why she is feared by the big tech companies and corporate America. She is forensic and relentless.

Her basic political messaging is simple: Capitalism is tolerable - even beneficial - but only if the rules are enforced.

What she is insisting on is that the playing field is level for all Americans, not tilted in favour of the rich and powerful.

Elizabeth Warren grew up not in the elite circles of the East Coast, but in dusty Oklahoma.

She uses that to her advantage, arguing that she understands the plight of hard-pressed Middle Americans because she experienced adversity for herself.

But she has made fumbles and errors of judgement that continue to haunt her candidacy.

At some points in her career she claimed to have Native American ancestry, inaccurately saying that her heritage was partly Cherokee Indian.

President Trump repeatedly mocks her for that claim, derisively calling her "Pocahontas".

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Warren has apologised to the Indian tribes, but it will resurface in any future Trump-Warren presidential debate.

We spent a little time with her on the campaign trail in South Carolina.

Warren struck me as humble and capable, super smart and a good listener.

All great skills if she makes it to the White House. But something was missing.

She doesn’t have the rockstar appeal to young voters that Bernie Sanders enjoyed in 2016.

She doesn’t have the soaring oratory and political skills of Obama in 2008.

She lacks the heartland appeal of Reagan.

But she doesn’t have to be the best candidate of her generation to win the White House.

But she doesn’t have to be the best candidate of her generation to win the White House, says Robert Moore. Credit: AP

She only has to outperform her top party rivals to secure the Democratic nomination, and she’s already doing that convincingly.

Then she has to beat a besieged and erratic president. And that looks easily within reach.

And remember what she has above all else: luck. You can’t become President without it.

If it doesn’t desert her for the next year, get ready for Madam President and for the roller-coaster ride that would come with a Warren Administration, which would be the most liberal in recent American history.

Talk about whiplash: from Obama to Trump to Warren.

That would be quite the political journey.

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