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Keller @ Large: Elizabeth Warren Pushes Back On Unprecedented Wave Of Criticism

BOSTON (CBS) - The weather may be turning sharply colder, but it seems the heat is on for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).

In recent weeks, there's been an unprecedented wave of criticism of Warren, not just from the usual haters.

A New York Times columnist accused her of a "knee-jerk, fact-free reaction" after she lambasted a hedge fund executive (who was also a Warren donor) for speaking favorably about Trump appointees; fellow Democrats abandoned her over her opposition to the 21st Century Cures Act, a major medical-research bill she claimed had become a Christmas present for big pharma and the tobacco companies; and an unflattering Boston Globe article described her "occasional tendency toward ideologically driven impulsiveness."

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Jon Keller interviews Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (WBZ-TV)

In a one-on-one interview here at the WBZ-TV studios Thursday, Warren pushed back.

"I fight for what I believe in and I really feel like that's what the people of Massachusetts sent me to Washington to do," said Warren.

But at some point, we asked, doesn't that approach become an impediment to functioning effectively in Congress?

"Look at the Cures bill, it got better after I started fighting and there was no indication it was gonna get better on its own," said Warren. "Sometimes you gotta be willing to fight to make change. and look, I get it, not all the time, but sometimes you gotta be willing to fight just because it's right."

Our interview also touched on Warren's appointment to a coveted seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where she says she intends to push for more funding for the sort of high-tech research conducted by Massachusetts-based companies on deterring cyber threats.

"Look at this business of the Russians invading America through the electoral process," she said. "I'm very concerned about President-elect Trump's unwillingness to listen to his intelligence briefings. I mean, our intelligence community is the best in the world, and they're the ones that give us the warnings about the different ways in which our country is threatened. And I think it is powerfully important to listen to what they say."

Warren says she understands that Republicans will soon control the White House and both branches of Congress.

But "more people voted for the Democratic presidential candidate than the Republican. We added seats, Democrats did, in the House and the Senate. And the way I see this is people who voted for us and people who voted for me here in Massachusetts four years ago, they didn't send us to Washington to lay down and die. They sent us to Washington to fight for those basic principles we believe in."

So, we asked Warren, you won't be chilling out?

Her response: "I don't think its in my nature."

Watch the entire interview with Sen. Warren this Sunday, Dec. 18 at 8:30 a.m. on WBZ-TV News.

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