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Keller @ Large: What Elizabeth Warren Faces Now

BOSTON (CBS) - Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren is kicking off her run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Scott Brown, and her entry has understandably created quite a bit of buzz.

Listen to Jon's commentary:


Warren has been an articulate observer of the economic tribulations of middle-class Americans over the years, and a blistering critic of the misdeeds of large financial institutions.

On both fronts, she will likely find a receptive audience.

And while she has never held elective office of any kind, Warren has a compelling story to tell in the saga of her fight to create the new consumer financial protection bureau in Washington.

I'm looking forward to meeting Professor Warren, and questioning her about her views.

But in the meantime, here are a few reasons why the road ahead may be even more difficult than she imagines.

For starters, there are already seven candidates in the Democratic field.

I spoke with two of them last night, Alan Khazei and Setti Warren.

Neither seemed at all inclined to defer to the professor, and both have the wherewithal to mount a tough primary fight.

Secondly, the record of academics running for high office here is not especially good.

The best showing in recent times was John Silber's victory in the 1990 Democratic primary for governor.

He would have won the final, too, if he hadn't forgotten that some voters actually want to like their leaders.

Will Warren, in her zeal to be tough and paint Scott Brown as some kind of right-wing Satan, repeat Silber's mistake?

A third hurdle facing Warren -- it's awfully hard for women to get elected to high office here.

I'm not sure why, but it's a fact, just ask Shannon O'Brien.

In fact, if I were Prof. Warren, I'd be studying the O'Brien/Romney race very intently.

And a final issue Elizabeth Warren faces -- she starts out as the candidate of Democratic party insiders.

Alan Khazei told me last night: "This is for the voters...not Washington insiders and party elites to decide."


Sounds like the spin Brown used to beat Coakley.

Good luck, Prof. Warren. You're going to need it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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