When Jonathan Karl asked Elizabeth Warren last fall if she was interested in running for president, she said ‘no’ a full five times.

But that was in the middle of the highest-profile U.S. Senate campaign in the country and before Democrats fully realized how barren their 2016 bench is sans Hillary Clinton and prior to Warren’s rabble-rousing run in the world’s most deliberative body.

Of course, Elizabeth Warren won’t say she’s interested in running for president.

But if she was asked the P-question again today, she might offer just three “no’s” instead of five.

It’s probably true that Warren really isn’t interested in the commander-in-chief roll and simply relishes the daily progressive fight on behalf of consumers.

But it’s equally true that if there were ever a viable threat to Clinton’s seemingly inevitable nomination (Haven’t we been through this before?), Warren would be it.

That’s why she’s moved up to The CHASE’s three spot on the Democratic side.  (What IS The CHASE? Read HERE.)

Why?

  • Woman? Check.  She’d allow progressives an out for feeling obligated to support Hillary for glass ceiling reasons.
  • Oh, and she’s a real progressive but yet has presented herself in financial hearings as an appealing and convincing populist whose message could resonate far beyond the Progressive Campaign Change Committee happy hour at Local 16.
  • Her starting gate polling is solid —  especially for a freshman senator up against two historical Democratic titans — Clinton and Joe Biden.  She’s basically third.  Sure, by a long shot.  But imagine if she wanted it and started making an argument and traveling like Scott Walker or Ted Cruz.  Buh-bye Biden.

This is the highest Warren has been placed in The CHASE — and it would be difficult to see her rising ahead of Clinton or Biden over the next year and a half.

But Warren’s rise is an important development to watch in a frozen Democratic primary field that won’t crack unless someone has the audacity (remember that word?) to take out an ice pick.

Read the full Democratic CHASE list HERE.