Clinton basks in glow of women senators -- with 1 absence

13 Women Senators Endorse Hillary Clinton


WASHINGTON -- There were 13 chairs lined up on stage behind Hillary Clinton's podium here Monday night, one for each Democratic woman in the Senate -- except one. The notable no-show was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive icon whom liberal groups spent more than $1 million trying to draft into the 2016 presidential race against Clinton this year.

The stage setting was emblematic of Clinton's campaign, which has managed to round up the vast majority of the Democratic Party's elected officials into her camp, and especially colleagues of her top rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (who underwent hernia surgery Monday). The 13 women had already endorsed Clinton, along with most of the Democrats in the House.

Look back through Elizabeth Warren's career so far:

23 PHOTOS
Elizabeth Warren
See Gallery
Clinton basks in glow of women senators -- with 1 absence

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States,' featuring testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others, January 5, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Committee members (L-R) Sen. Martin Heinrich (D - NM), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) talk during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrive for a hearing with the Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency chief in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), speaks to and meets New England voters during a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday October 24, 2016.

(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mark Wahlberg, Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner Billy Evans, Former Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, Dun 'Danny' Meng, Jessica Downes, Patrick Downes, Senator Elizabeth Warren, director Peter Berg and Harvard Law professor Bruce Mann pose on the red carpet at the 'Patriots Day' screening at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Photo by Natasha Moustache/WireImage)

Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), speaks to and meets New England voters during a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday October 24, 2016.

(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Former Red Sox player David Ortiz talks with Senator Elizabeth Warren at the 'Patriots Day' screening at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Photo by Natasha Moustache/WireImage)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren hold a rally at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH on Oct. 24, 2016.

(Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at a Manchester 'New Hampshire Together' Canvass Launch event in Manchester, NH on Sept. 24, 2016.

(Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren speaks onstage at EMILY's List Breaking Through 2016 at the Democratic National Convention at Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images For EMILY's List)

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, holds up copies of Wells Fargo earnings call transcripts as she questions John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, as he testifies about the unauthorized opening of accounts by Wells Fargo during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 20, 2016.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) along with members of the Democratic Women of the Senate acknowledge the crowd on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivers remarks on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III welcomes Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on stage on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to and meets Ohio voters during a rally at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, June 27, 2016.

(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing live, Thursday July 21, 2016 in New York. With guest Elizabeth Warren .

(Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrives in the Capitol for the on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (R) meets with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (L), chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court, April 14, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Garland continued to place visits to Senate members after he was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, listens as Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Yellen offered a subtle change to her outlook from less than a week ago, saying she and her colleagues were on watch for whether, rather than when, the U.S. economy would show clear signs of improvement.

(Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., greets guests during a rally on the east lawn of the Capitol to urge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to hold a vote on the 'Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act,' March 9, 2016. The legislation would provide a one time payment to seniors, veterans and other SSI recipients who will not get a cost-of-living adjustment this year.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators Bob Corker (L) and Elizabeth Warren (R) speak before a Senate Banking Committee on the semiannual monetary report to Congress hearing in Washington, USA on February 11, 2016.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), talks with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the House chamber prior to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.

(REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


And at Monday's fundraiser, one of the largest of her 2016 campaign, Clinton likely raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the 1,000 attendees, which included other members of Congress, wealthy donors, and prominent Washington Democrats.

But Warren's absence spoke to a question that has nipped at Clinton's heels throughout her campaign: Will her overwhelming support from the party's establishment be matched by enthusiasm among the party's grassroots base?

Warren was invited to participate in the fundraiser, but did not attend because she is not yet backing Clinton or any candidate in the 2016 Democratic primary.

"We're honored to have 13 women Senators coming together to endorse and support Hillary Clinton. This is a sign of the broad support Clinton is receiving from women across the country who know she'll fight for us," said Clinton campaign spokesperson Christina Reynolds.

See photos from Clinton's 2016 campaign:

27 PHOTOS
Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign
See Gallery
Clinton basks in glow of women senators -- with 1 absence
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 10: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a campaign rally at City Garage April 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Voters will head to polling places for Maryland's presidential primary April 26. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laughs as she listens to Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) speak on a gun control panel in Port Washington, New York April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a Latino organizing event on April 9, 2016 while campaigning in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, MA - FEBRUARY 29: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a 'Get Out The Vote' rally at the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History on February 29, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Massachusetts and Virginia ahead of Super Tuesday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at the Old South Meeting Hall during a rally in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday February 29, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 01: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets patrons at Mapps Coffee on March 1, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Minnesota as Super Tuesday voting takes place in 12 states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MOUNT VERNON, IOWA - OCTOBER 7: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to voters during an outdoor town hall meeting at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa on Wednesday October 7, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MUSCATINE, IOWA - OCTOBER 6: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a voter before leaving a farm in Muscatine, Iowa on Tuesday October 6, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - OCTOBER 05: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a town hall meeting at the Manchester Community College on October 5, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Clinton spoke about the need for gun control on the wake of a mass shooting at another community college in Oregon. (Photo by Alfredo Sosa/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
DAVIE, FL - OCTOBER 02: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about gun control during her campaign stop at the Broward College à Hugh Adams Central Campus on October 2, 2015 in Davie, Florida. Hillary Clinton continues to campaign for the nomination of the Democratic Party as their presidential candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 19: Hillary Clinton attends the Phoenix Awards Dinner at the 45th Annual Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claps on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention at the Verizon Wireless Center on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Challenger for the democratic vote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been gaining ground on Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 18: Hillary Clinton brings her Democratic presidential campaign to Maine for the first time, speaking at King Middle School. Clinton is welcomed as she is introduced at the event. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - SEPTEMBER 7: Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton takes time to meet supporters and take photos at the Annual Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic on September 7, 2015 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Clinton spent a busy Labor Day weekend in Iowa, meeting supporters throughout the state while trying to maintain a lead over Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes part in a discussion after speaking about the Iran nuclear deal at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, on September 9, 2015. Clinton expressed firm support for the nuclear accord with Iran, calling it flawed but still strong. Clinton added that the agreement must be strictly enforced and said that if elected president next year, she would not hesitate to use military force if Iran fails to live up to its word and tries to develop a bomb. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 5: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen take an off the schedule stop in the River Run Bookstore before shaking hands with onlookers on September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 5: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton receives an endorsement from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Clinton attended a Women for Hillary event at Portsmouth High School. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 5: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks downtown Portsmouth and takes pictures with people September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Clinton attended a Women for Hillary event at Portsmouth High School earlier in the day and received an endorsement from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 18: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions from journalists after speaking to north Las Vegas voters at a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. The former Secretary was answering questions about emails sent and received a private server system, now in question, while she was the Secretary of State. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - August 15: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton greets fairgoers as she tours the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
CARROLL, IA - JULY 26: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a house party on July 26, 2015 in Carroll, Iowa. Although Clinton leads all other Democratic contenders, a recent poll had her trailing several of the Republican candidates in Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 20: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a meeting with parents and child care workers at the Center for New Horizons on May 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Clinton arrived in Chicago after campaigning Monday and Tuesday in Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 05: Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) poses with students and faculty after speaking at Rancho High School on May 5, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton said that any immigration reform would need to include a path to 'full and equal citizenship.' (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal attend the 2015 DVF Awards at United Nations on April 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University April 29, 2015 in New York City. Clinton addressed the unrest in Baltimore, called for police body cameras and a reform to sentencing. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for president on Sunday April, 12, 2015 with a video on YouTube. 

(Screenshot from YouTube)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


Sanders has captured the voting bloc that would have been Warren's had she decided to run, but he has so far struggled to expand his support beyond that -- especially among his party's leadership. He is the lone member of the Senate supporting his presidential campaign, and he has just two members of the House in his corner.

Sanders has attempted to play this to his advantage. "Now is not the time for establishment politics, now is the time for a political revolution," he said at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson dinner Sunday night in Manchester.

An endorsement from Warren, who is one of just six Democrats in the upper chamber who has yet to back Clinton, would be a powerful validator for either candidate.

Check out more coverage of Hillary Clinton:

As New Clinton Emails Are Released, Where Does Hillary Stand?



Earlier this year, while weighing a potential White House bid, Vice President Joe Biden met with Warren for what she called "a good, long, rambly conversation" at the Naval Observatory.

Clinton's backers are convinced she'll come on board eventually. "Elizabeth. I think in her course of time, she's going to come out for Hillary," California Sen. Barbara Boxer told MSNBC's Steve Kornacki Monday afternoon.

Aides to both Clinton and Warren seemed to chafe at the latest round of questioning from reporters about the relationship between the two women, which has existed in some form since Warren visited then-first lady Clinton to lobby her on a bankruptcy bill in the 1990s, but has never been particularly close.

Warren has been publicly pushing presidential candidates to support a bill that would put restrictions on the so-called "revolving door" between Wall Street and government, and is a force in the Senate for stricter rules on the financial industry and consumer protection.

In 2013, all 14 Democratic women senators -- including Warren -- signed on to a letter organized by California Sen. Barbara Boxer urging Clinton to run for president. Warren has said calling on Clinton to run is not the same thing as an endorsement.

The senator is still not ready to make an endorsement, Warren allies say, though she has indicated she will do so before the Democratic contest is over. "I imagine that's what I'll do," she told The Boston Globe when asked if she would endorse during the primary.

Despite the conspicuous absence of Warren, rarely has Clinton's lock on the establishment support been so clear as it was Monday night. Speaking to room packed by Washington notables, 13 of Sanders' colleagues spoke back-to-back about why they were choosing their former colleague over their current one, though none of them mentioned him by name.

"We have one great candidate," said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "You come to the conclusion that this is really the only candidate out there that has an opportunity because of the knowledge that's in her brain to solve some of the problems that we face as the most indispensable nation on earth."

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who previously served as governor and whose political apparatus has been put to work for Clinton, vowed that the former secretary of state would win her state's critical first-in-the-nation primary. "Hillary's going to win New Hampshire," she said.

Following Shaheen, Sen. Amy Klobuchar joked she can see Iowa from her porch in neighboring Minnesota. "And I can tell you this. Hillary Clinton is going to win Iowa!" she said.

"She is the woman for this job," added Washington Sen. Patty Murray. "Just like all of us, she still puts her pantsuits on one leg at a time."

The majority of the senators cited Clinton's foreign policy experience as a reason for backing her, often highlighting her tenure as secretary of state. The women also drew sharp contrasts between Clinton and Republican presidential candidates. And all of the senators said it was time for the country to elect a woman president, and the campaign unveiled a new video titled "44 Boys Is Too Many," which featured girls saying the same.

Clinton was clearly thrilled to be on stage with her former colleagues, and singled out Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is retiring this year, noting Mikulski is the reason Clinton was allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor. "You know what we saw in Colorado Springs the other night was just horrific and we have to stand up for the rights of women to get the healthcare that they need and we have strong," she said. She went on to praise the "strong soldiers and fighters in pursuit of that behind me."

Clinton touched on the theme earlier in the day during an appearance at the Atlantic Council in Washington in which she discussed foreign policy. "It would be probably predictable for me to say this but there's a lot we can learn from Latin America's success at electing women," she said.

Photos from Clinton's appearance at the Atlantic Council:

1 PHOTOS
Hillary Clinton at Atlantic Council Women's Leadership in Latin America Initiative, Nov. 30
See Gallery
Clinton basks in glow of women senators -- with 1 absence
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


More from NBC News:
Boy Taken by Dad in 2002 Has Visited Mom in Alabama: Lawyer
Rob Malley, Obama's New ISIS Czar, Is a 'Trusted' But Controversial Pick
He Fired Garry McCarthy, His Top Cop. Is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Next?
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.