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Elizabeth Warren after presidential announcement: "I want to be in this fight"

Elizabeth Warren preps for 2020 race

Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave her first television interview Wednesday evening since she announced an exploratory committee for a presidential bid on New Year's Eve. Warren is considered the first household name Democrat to announce her potential candidacy, although she is only one of several possible candidates pondering a bid.

"I want to be in this fight," Warren told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC show. "This is truly about what kind of country we are going to be. I never thought I would get into politics, not in a million years, but I got in this because I believe this is the fight we must fight. I can't tell other to fight it. I have to be there right beside them."

Warren called out the Trump presidency as "one grift after another" and called President Trump an "accelerant for corruption."

"I see him as what happens when corruption invades a system, that, it gets a little bit corrupt and a little more corrupt and a little more corrupt and then it gets bigger and they get bolder and bolder," she said. 

Warren spoke briefly about foreign policy, saying she is in favor of removing American troops from Syria and Afghanistan and that she would like to ask the people in the "defense establishment" who support keeping troops "what they think winning looks like."   But she said she is not in favor of "foreign policy by twee" and she emphasized the need to coordinate with U.S. allies. 

Warren called for grassroots involvement in the primaries, saying she didn't want billionaires "self-funding" their runs or for billionaire donors to determine. A refusal to take corporate or PAC money was a signature part of potential 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke's 2018 Senate bid, which shattered fundraising records but was ultimately unsuccessful.   

There was no mention of the video Warren released taking a DNA test proving there is a strong likelihood she has Native American heritage. Mr. Trump has frequently targeted Warren, mockingly calling her "Pocahontas."

After picking Maddow, a self-proclaimed liberal, for her first interview, Warren will be taking on a candidate's schedule and head to Iowa, the critical first caucus state in the 2020 Democratic primaries. Warren will travel to four Iowa cities during her brief time in the state.

In her letter to supporters Monday morning announcing her presidential bid, Warren said that she "never in a zillion years" thought she would run for office. By afternoon, Warren claimed she had already received donations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. 

In a video released on social media, Warren said she's running in order to take a stand for middle-class Americans. She lays out the vision for her presidency in the video as one in which democracy and our economy "work for all of us."  

"In our country if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love. That's a fundamental promise of America," she said. Warren talked about her own family's struggles -- her father was a janitor and her mother worked at Sears -- and yet, Warren grew up to be be a teacher, a law professor and a senator. Now, she believes "working families today face a lot tougher path than my family did. And families of color face a path that is steeper and rockier. A path made even harder by the impact of generations of discrimination."

Grace Segers, Ed O'Keefe and Caroline Linton contributed reporting