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Warren attacks 'rigged' political, economic system

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a denunciation of an American economic and political system that she said had become badly distorted, Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren declared to the Democratic convention Wednesday night that “the game is rigged” against many Americans.

Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren explains why she feels President Obama's policies will benefit America's economic future.

“We celebrate success,” Warren said. “We just don't want the game to be rigged” – a word she used half a dozen times in her 15-minute speech.

With the latest jobs report to be released Friday morning by the Labor Department, Warren painted a pessimistic portrait of the U.S. economy. “Our middle class has been chipped, squeezed, and hammered,” she said. “Talk to the construction worker I met from Malden, Mass., who went nine months without finding work” – an allusion to the 30 percent drop in employment in the construction sector since 2007.

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Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Slideshow: Democratic National Convention

Without identifying any specific CEO by name, Warren said Wall Street executives had “wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs,” but she said they “still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.”

She portrayed middle-class Americans as law-abiding, and wealthy executives as lawbreakers.

Praising “nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters,” she said that “not one of them — not one — stashes their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

The Washington Post reported in January that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a stake in a partnership based in the Cayman Islands. But it said, “It is unclear how, if at all, Romney’s taxes were affected by the offshore arrangement.”

NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro are in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Democratic National Convention. Today they talk about last night's speeches by Michelle Obama and Julian Castro, as well as what's coming at the convention tonight.

Warren also tore into Romney as “the guy who said corporations are people. No, Gov. Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die.”

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She said she and President Barack Obama want a country in which “everyone is held accountable. Where no one can steal your purse on Main Street, or your pension on Wall Street. “

She also praised the role of federal spending on infrastructure and public schools saying “Obama believes in a country where we invest in education, in roads and bridges, in science, and in the future, so we can create new opportunities, so the next kid can make it big, and the kid after that, and the kid after that.”

Warren also used her time in front of the national television audience to burnish her self-portrait for Massachusetts voters: “I grew up in a family on the ragged edges of the middle class. My daddy sold carpeting and ended up as a maintenance man. After he had a heart attack, my mom worked the phones at Sears so we could hang on to our house.” And she was waiting tables at age 13, Warren told the crowd.

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Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the party's candidates for the 2012 presidential election.

While she blasted Romney in her speech, Warren did not mention the man she is running against: Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who was elected in a special election in 2010 for the seat once held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Public opinion polling shows the race to be statistically tied. Winning the Massachusetts race is vital to the Democrats’ hopes of retaining control of the Senate, where they now enjoy a 53-seat majority.