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Elizabeth Warren fuels speculation by dropping Harvard class

By Brady Dennis

When fall classes began Wednesday at Harvard Law School, Elizabeth Warren was scheduled to be teaching contract law to first-year students. But something happened on the way to the chalkboard.

"I'm writing to let you know that Professor Jerry Frug will be teaching your Contracts class this term instead of Professor Elizabeth Warren," law school dean Martha Minow wrote to students on Tuesday, according to an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post. "Professor Warren regrets that she will not be able to teach you this fall and we regret the last minute change."

Last-minute change?

Cue up another round of speculation about whether President Obama is about to tap Warren to head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

The watchdog, created by the massive financial overhaul bill signed into law in July, is aimed at protecting borrowers from abuses in mortgages, credit cards and other such loans. It will be housed in the Federal Reserve but will have an independent director, dedicated funding and autonomy to write and enforce its own rules.

Warren, a high-profile consumer advocate and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, has long been a leading candidate for the job. She recently met with top White House officials to talk about the post, which requires Senate confirmation and comes with a five-year term.

Through a spokesman, Warren declined to comment on Wednesday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he didn't expect an announcement this week about whom the president would nominate.

Still, Warren's abrupt withdrawal from the classroom raises an obvious question: Why?

She continued to teach fall classes in 2008 and 2009, even as she chaired the oversight panel, and the Harvard Law School Web site still lists her as teaching this semester - three days a week.

Apparently, she has other plans.

By Brady Dennis  |  September 2, 2010; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  
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Ah, one more Ivy League graduate hired to tell us little people how to live our lives. Well, I hope one of the first things we Republicans do when we take over in November is to fire all of the Ivy League graduates working in government! I am sick and tired of being dictated to by people who are totally out of touch with REAL Americans!!!

Posted by: georges2 | September 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Georges2 - right you are. We should be led by juco dropouts from south dakota. You betcha!!!

Posted by: DontGetIt | September 2, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

No on thinks that all the out of touch people will be "fired" if there's a Republican administration, least of all this November because the Obama administration still chooses people for various positions, not the Republicans, even if they control Congress.

At best, with a new administration, you'll see a rehash of old names and faces, and different out of touch people (if you think Ivy League graduates are out of touch); it's not as if they're going to simply pick people who are at the University of New Hampshire, Hood College or a nursing school to lead medical or health agencies. Like it or not, they choose who they think are the "best and the brightest", meaning the people picked come from the same schools as the people picking.

Said another way, do you really think that a Sarah Palin would be choosing, to lead the various cabinet level positions and government agencies, people who attended half a dozen colleges before getting a degree, people who are community college graduates (maybe even if they did in turn graduate from a 4-year school), or people who have "only" bachelor degrees? Do you think Sarah Palin (as an example, as she's prominent) would pick people with her academic background, or try to get "the best out there"?

Posted by: Dungarees | September 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Just sad that there is such fear and hatred directed toward accomplished people - most of whom worked very hard to achieve. I myself am a product of the greatest public university in the world (UC Berkeley!) Almost all the Ivy Leaguers I know are pretty smart, thoughtful people who care about their families, communities and country. Even the ones I disagree with who tend to be Republicans...

I don't see how bitterness and anger translate into good governance. Just don't see it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

DontGetIt, why would you even want junior college grads? The only people who are still sufficiently in touch with "real" America are working in the fast food industry, with none of that elitist organic health food, scientific training, or decision making experience to corrupt their worldview.

Posted by: carlaclaws | September 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Just to set the record straight.

Warren was born & raised-up in Oklahoma, a true daughter of the "plains" who got her education by hard work & scholarships.

She got her JD from GW and joined a Texas law firm, specializing in bankruptcy law, which in itself was a very real education for her.

She came to see that the people who file for bankruptcy are not "dead-beats" but working-class people confronted by tragic situations such as paying for their health care bills.

She has earned her success yet remains a true daughter of the populist plains.

This is why Geitner, Summers & Wall Street do no want her to be chosen as the head of the new Consumer Protection Agency.

She will be an advocate for consumers and not the Wall Street bankers.

A true plain-spoken daughter of the Oklahoma plains that would make Will Rogers proud!

Posted by: mikeconville | September 2, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, one more Ivy League graduate hired to tell us little people how to live our lives.

Better than those beer guzzling idiots that dumbded down America to sound bites.

Are you afraid of intelligence Georges2, Republican GOP is idiots with no educationa and degrees at Oral Roberts University istead of mains tream schools that teach actual science and not that crap that Christian schools teach in lieu of actual science but creationism, in um 5 million years in five days, uh huh.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The watchdog, created by the massive financial overhaul bill signed into law in July, is aimed at protecting borrowers from abuses in mortgages, credit cards and other such loans.
The financial system of the United States collapses in 2008 with the Fed forced to pump in billions so that there will be lending.

So in 2010 we get watered down reform of the banks and a new supposedly important Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

Great to see that Congress and this administration are attuned to our problems.

Posted by: bsallamack | September 2, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

If you want to actually influence people, I suggest not beginning comments with "One more..." It's a dead giveaway that you're just repeating the lastest echo chamber cliche.

Posted by: isaac32767 | September 2, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

elite, rich ivy leaguers running the country. They already control the supreme court--might as well flood the executive branch also, to tell the "little people" how to live!!!!!

Posted by: Socialistic | September 2, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

georges2, how'd you like that Ivy Leaguer George W. Bush?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Heard that "you're doing heck of a job Brownie" is going to be hired as the consumer "advocate".

Since he is a real american (i.e. should not be more educated than any one else in the village tavern), he will do heckuva job.

Posted by: kblgca | September 2, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I shoulda got my degree from Oral Roberts, Bob Jones, or Regent.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

While I have no problem with Obama picking Ivy Leaguers, it does seem like he has a tendency to pick college professors who are good in theory, but somewhat lacking when it comes to real world experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

1. Liz Warren is great, and our country will be lucky to have her in its service.

2. Why is this blog using a HUGE image file 100 times as big as it needs? The page is resizing a 2161x3000 pixel image as 216x300. See it full size at if you want to count her hair follicles. I saw a similar problem a couple days ago. Is the Post so short-handed now that no one can resize photos?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I think Elizabeth Warren is exactly the person to oversee Consumer Financial Protection.From listening to her I think I am hearing the truth and a desire to do the right thing.I don't get the creepy feeling that most of our career pols cause.
Give her the job,and see if she can recommend replacements for our congress.

Posted by: greatview | September 3, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Good for Elizabeth Warren! Her intelligence will be appreciated.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 7, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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