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Big mo? Two more Senators call on Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren

Heads up: Add Dick Durbin and Carl Levin to the list of Senators backing Elizabeth Warren as Obama's key consumer cop on Wall Street. That makes a total of 15 Senators supporting her. Is momentum building in her favor?

The left has been mounting a campaign to pressure the White House to appoint Warren as head of the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which is central to the success of the just-passed Wall Street reform bill. There's ample evidence she's well qualified for the job, and appointing her would throw a big bone to liberals, who strongly support Warren and want to see Obama take a stand on something they care about.

And yet, the White House appears to be waffling on the appointment -- perhaps because bigfoot administration insiders don't like her or perhaps because they don't think she can get 60 votes in the Senate.

Now the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is organizing the campaign to get Warren appointed and has been whipping Senate support, are set to announce the support of senators Durbin and Levin. Durbin, who is a particularly interesting addition because he's a close ally of the president, came out for Warren in the middle of a speech on the Senate floor last week that passed unnoticed, strongly endorsing her as "aggressive" and "intelligent":

"It is critical that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection be put in place with a director who is aggressive, intelligent, and understands the challenge they will face; a director who is fair, one who believes in the power of the marketplace but understands that markets work better if everybody participating in those markets benefits; a director who will listen to what bankers are saying but can see through them when they try to slant lending markets too far in their favor; a director who thinks, first and foremost, about how American families can thrive in today's complicated economy.

"Fortunately, there is a person who can fill that job effectively. Her name is Elizabeth Warren."

And Senator Levin came out for Warren in a letter to the President.

"The success of the Bureau, a key accomplishment of the financial reform bill, will depend to a significant degree on its first chief," Levin wrote, telling Obama that she would help "bring to fruition one of the important accomplishments of your presidency."

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, you may recall, successively whipped dozens of Dem Senators into supporting the public option. That provision, of course, died a quiet death before health reform passed. But the noise in favor of it unquestionably got far louder than anyone expected. Looks like the same could happen with Warren.

UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.: Speaking of making noise, PCCC reports they've compiled over 200,000 petition signatures for Warren with Credo Action and has sent over 3,000 phone calls to Senators since Thursday.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 9, 2010; 2:11 PM ET
Categories:  Senate Dems , economy  
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Next: Sharron Angle camp clarifies "First Commandment" claim: Obama thinks he's "all powerful"


Two words:
Dawn Johnsen

Three more (RE: public option):
Back room deal

(assuming I still cannot use html tags)

Posted by: msmollyg | August 9, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

This meme that the WH is against Warren has got to stop. I've heard NOTHING publicly or even anonymously uttered by the WH that would be against Warren.

In fact, we've heard the opposite. Here's the WH LAST WEEK 8/3 where Gibbs questioned a reporter who called her "controversial":

" Q He also said that Elizabeth Warren would be a very controversial nominee to the Consumer Protection Agency. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. GIBBS: Based on what?

Q That’s what he said during the interview.

MR. GIBBS: I don’t know what he bases -- it would be interesting to know what he based his comments on.

Q A lot of people have said that she could be a controversial pick.

MR. GIBBS: Based on?

Q I mean, Senator Dodd has said that she might not get enough votes to be --

MR. GIBBS: Based on?

Q Okay, the AFL-CIO event, can I just ask one thing -- is it at the White House tomorrow?"

Here's today's gaggle on Air Force One.
Again, countering Chris Dodd. If they didn't want her, would they be talking like this?

" Q Do you have any update on who will head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? And what's the White House's reaction to Senator Dodd last week saying that Elizabeth Warren will cause a fight if she's the nominee?

MR. BURTON: Well, for starters, I would say that there is no update on the timing. It's not going to happen this week.

But in terms of Senator Dodd, I think that we've litigated what he has had to say, and a lot of folks have opinions about Elizabeth Warren and other candidates. It's the White House's view that Elizabeth Warren would be confirmable. And I think that -- I think we've addressed that.

Q Can we expect an announcement before -- again, before he goes to Martha's Vineyard?

MR. BURTON: Check back at the beginning of next week."

Posted by: calchala | August 9, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Good news. This really is a no - brainer, on the politics alone. Wall Street got worth voting for, but severely watered down reform legislation, that unless followed - up on, will not prevent another crisis. Warren is the least that can be done to compensate for that.

OT, but I actually think today's news could use a little Sarah Palin. Specifically, can she still see Russia? And how exactly are "extreme greenies" to blame?

Posted by: michael_conrad | August 9, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse


"a director who will listen to what bankers are saying but can see through them when they try to slant lending markets too far in their favor;"

What in the world does it mean for a bank to "slant lending markets in their favor"?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 9, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the fear of rejection for a bill or candidate. If the bill or candidate is good, than rejection is not necessarily bad. It puts the opposition party on record as rejecting something good.

I have always associated the "we don't have the votes" excuse as a way of suppressing something you don't want while appearing like you do want it.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | August 9, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse


I actually think that Obama will nominate her. Today when asked about what Dodd said that she may not be confirmable, Burton said that he disputes Dodd's claim and she is absolutely confirmable.

Now if the White House wanted to signal that they were leaning against Warren then Burton would have said that he knows that there is a problem in the Senate and the White House will look at a host of factors.

Instead, both Burton and Gibbs have strongly defended her against Dodd's waffling.

I predict that Obama will announce her as the candidate in early September, soon after Labor Day.

Remember my prediction...

Posted by: maritza1 | August 9, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Sharron Angle: 'There's Nothing Wrong With Our Health Care System' (VIDEO)

and "access is not being denied"


Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know who the 15 senators are? I called Sen. Feinstein's office last week and they said she hasn't taken a position yet. I'm assuming Boxer is a slam dunk but I haven't called her.

Posted by: SDJeff | August 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

My own pet theory is that the White House "waffle" is just a pose. How better to generate the grass-roots support needed to overcome Warren's opponents?

If I'm wrong about that, and somebody more Wall-Street-friendly gets the job instead, then we'll have to ask ourselves whether "Change" was just a slogan.

Posted by: isaac32767 | August 9, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It boggles my mind that there is so much controversy over naming Elizabeth Warren to head the CFPB. #1, the agency is her idea and comes after almost 2 decades of championing consumer financial protection before Congress. #2, none of the other pretenders can make such a claim. #3, Professor Warren has ably demonstrated as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel that she is independent of all the pressures of the banking industry and political party machines. #4, Prof. Warren is consumers' last best hope of getting a fair deal from the nation's financial services institutions. The only people and institutions that need to worry about what Professor Warren will do as head of the CFPB are those who abuse consumers -- and that should be exactly what we want. #5, any vote for anyone other than Prof. Warren is a vote against American consumers and for the greedy Big Banks that precipitated the worst financial disaster in the US since the Great Depression. A lingering crisis that is still costing millions of Americans their jobs, their homes and their life savings. We should all hope that the Administration and Congress would be embarrassed to nominate and confirm anyone but Professor Warren, and risking such a display of wanton disregard for the financial safety of the American public.

Posted by: Wellspring | August 10, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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