Elizabeth Warren on Dominating the High School Debate Circuit: Watch - Rolling Stone
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The First Time: Elizabeth Warren

Massachusetts Senator talks Patsy Cline, high school debate, and standing up to authority as a child

Sen. Elizabeth Warren developed a love for debate long before her career in public service began. Joined by her dog Bailey, the presidential candidate and Rolling Stone cover star recalls the sense of accomplishment that came with winning her first debate tournament for the latest installment of our “The First Time” video series.

“There weren’t many girls who debated,” says Warren, “and, gosh, I don’t remember any that had won tournaments.” The win made a lasting impression on the not-yet Massachusetts senator. “It made me think, wow. This is possible.” She says, “There were a lot of things that I wasn’t any good at. I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t play an instrument, I didn’t have any art talent. But I thought, ‘ah, debate!’ This may be something I’m good at.”

Warren also shares memories of growing up on a gravel road in Norman, Oklahoma, where she learned to stand up to authority. “I think I was three, maybe four, and my mother had told me I couldn’t cross the street. I’d just go ahead and cross the street because I wanted whatever was on the other side.”

Elsewhere, she talks of her love for the late country music legend Patsy Cline, tracing back to the first album she ever bought. “It was Patsy Cline, Showcase. I got it in the stack of used records.” Warren adds, “She’s fabulous.”


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