July 23rd, 2010
07:24 PM ET
4 years ago

Progressives' next big fight: Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is among those being considered by President Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Elizabeth Warren is among those being considered by President Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Las Vegas (CNN) - Elizabeth Warren is a hero at Netroots Nation, a gathering of progressive bloggers and activists meeting this week in Las Vegas.

Warren is a leading candidate for director of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). And many of the Netroots advocates here vow to use their fundraising and online muscle to press President Obama and Democrats in Congress to make that happen.

Warren, a Harvard professor and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is an outspoken consumer advocate who originally proposed the idea for such a bureau. The financial reform legislation signed by President Obama this week made the CFPB a reality. And in an interview with ABC News on Thursday, the President indicated that Warren is among those he's considering as the Bureau's director.

But Warren has critics in the business community, and both Obama and a key Democratic leader in Congress have made it clear she is no shoo-in for the post.

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the liberal DailyKos blog tells CNN, "Clearly progressives are not happy with financial regulation passed into law. One of the few provisions that could have teeth is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and it's clear there are forces trying to insert someone at the head who will do everything in their power to defang it." He says of Democratic leaders in Washington "if they want to have any credibility with progressives it's imperative they have someone who will use the powers of the [Consumer Financial Protection] Bureau to fulfill its mission. Elizabeth Warren is one of the few people we trust to do that."

Over the last two years, Warren has been a loud critic of the financial industry and the big banks, blasting what she calls their "tricks and traps" in obscuring the details of financial products.

Whoever gets the job will have enormous power shaping the future path of the agency and what it will regulate. That's why Republicans who say they'd like to see a more "balanced" candidate are warning against "naming an activist to this position," as Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee has said.

But already the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has launched an online petition and is helping to organize a letter among members of Congress asking President Obama to select Warren for the post. According to PCCC co-founder Adam Green they have 170,000 signatures on the petition and 64 members have signed the Congressional letter to the President.

Liberal advocacy organization Moveon.org is taking a different approach – going after a fellow Democrat. They're targeting Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd for a comment he made casting doubt on Warren's appointment. Dodd told National Public Radio: "Elizabeth can be a terrific nominee but the question is, is she confirmable? And there is a serious question about that." To ramp up the pressure on Dodd, Moveon.org has sent a letter to its members asking them to call Dodd's office. And they've launched online ads criticizing the retiring Senator.

Moveon.org's Ilyse Hogue believes targeting Dodd sends a message to other Democrats: oppose Warren and incur the wrath of the progressive online community. Hogue says of Democratic leaders, "They're trotting Chris Dodd out there, who's impenetrable because he's retiring, to do the dirty work of other Democrats who would be vulnerable on this." She says the attack on Dodd is strategic: "We are hitting Dodd hard right now because we don't want any other Democrats to think it's OK to follow his lead and slam Elizabeth Warren when she is the choice of the people to protect us against Wall Street." And she adds, "If we don't, and we go without a fight, every other Democrat thinks it's OK" to oppose Warren.

For these activists, the Warren question is a test of President Obama's commitment to taking on special interests, as he pledged to do during the campaign.

"Either he stands with the banks or with the people," says Moulitsas. "And he puts someone in there who will hold Wall Street accountable."

For her part, Elizabeth Warren will be speaking at Netroots Nation on Saturday.


Filed under: President Obama • Wall Street
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. zizewitz

    If WARREN had a good chance to be nominated, this pressure by the
    liberal extremists has given the opposition, meaning both the middle of the road Dems and the rabid GOP Ultraright, enough weapons to avoid her nomination and if not, block her confirmation.

    Which is a pity, as a strong hnd is neede to reign in the big business abusives practices

    July 23, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. carlos

    Mr. President, make it a RECESS appointment and to hell with the ass tard repugnants.........Ms. Warren is the ideal person to handle the CFPB.

    July 23, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    The Wall Street Worshiping GObPers will vote no. What's new?

    She could have the power to save the world and they would vote NO.

    They just love to follow, goose-step, the turtle-faced sob from KY.

    July 23, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. TOTUS FOR PRESIDENT

    Just what this broke country needs right now – another progressive activist (aka socialist) ready to redistribute the wealth. We are headed to hell on a rocket, and Obama wants to kick in the boosters!

    July 23, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. Karen CA

    What is a progressive? You mean a liberal?

    July 23, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. Keith in Austin

    Progressives represent the true radical left wing. If Bozo appoints this woman it will spell even more implosion for Democraps in Nov.

    July 23, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  7. Arlie Petrides

    What's with those Harvard people, believing they and only they know what is best for our country? What's this even bigger government thing they all espouse? Can't their reasoning see (1) America has risen to greatest heights without all that government, and (2) just look what Obama and his manglers have done to this country in just 1-1/2 years. We don't need more of this kind of thinking. "Progressives" go home!

    July 23, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. dennis

    Progressive = Someone who has an overwhelming feeling of weirdoism.

    July 23, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. TK

    Protection of consumer is equal to protection of economy, while protection of corporation is a road to depression and bailouts.
    protect consumer will be able to pay diverse products (not just immoral fees for banks, wall street and oil crooks).
    strong consumer supports small businesses (not just wall mart).
    Warren is a right choice for consumer driven economy.

    July 23, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. tjb49

    Ms Warren is an idea candidate for the head of CFPB. We really don't need someone who is going to take us back to the pre-tarp days. I and, most of the country, has suffered enough the last two years to o back to business as usual.

    July 23, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Yeah those Troubled Assets are a real problem. But they closed the Barn Door after the horse got out. Who the bleep can borrow any money now. Think Depression. Think Titanic. Who needs a CFPB Director. Who needs the inmates running the Asylum.

    July 23, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. MAC

    Another Bueracrat who will be pushing the liberal agenda on all Americans. I trust her as much as I trust Hugo Chavez and Fidel (NOT!). The liberal agenda is just another special interest same as Wall Street. and anyone who does not know that should pull their head out of the dark place they have it stuck in. It is just another way to get lawyers richer. The answer to Wall street is not so much regulation as it is to have openess and prosecute wrong doers. Also the dems forgot the biggest culprit in Fannie Maae and Freddie Mac for the latest economic problems.

    July 23, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. TJINLV

    She's the best hope for consumers I've seen in a long time. she's worth fighting for.

    July 23, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  14. Hugo

    Why don't we just do away with elections and let the Harvard Faculty and Administration run the Nation? I cannot wait for 2012 so that our next President and new Congress can begin to unwind the damage done by these Progressive Liberal douche' bags, and I mean that in the most respectful way.

    July 23, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. jim

    Another power hungry woman that came up with an idea to create this burea and oh by the way she would be the perfect person to run the agency.These socialist will not be satified till they completely take over the country and destroy every last atom left of the free market system.

    July 23, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. Gaylon Barrow NOT ASHAMED for the truth!!!

    If she takes an Obama post she will not be long in government. She will join right along with the likes of, Reid, Pelosi, Biden, Obama as the worst elected officials ever in the White House.

    July 23, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  17. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Critics of the business community? Who? The originator of the CFPB that got through Congress? The Progressives think she'll have 'teeth'? Wow...President Obama should appoint her ASAP (meaning this week, first thing Monday morning). If not her, who else would impress the Progressives even more? I wanna see names. I hope not see conservatives either. The GOP have got their imputs enough to screw things up. Let's start winning back some of those Independent voters.

    July 23, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  18. John Hennessy Black

    Elizabeth Warren is the ONLY person I would trust in that position!

    Although Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, who FORGETS to pay his taxes and President Obama do not particularly like her – primarily because she will not bow to Wall Street – as they both do; she has more knowledge and balls than both of these folks combined… not to mention CREDIBILITY!

    Finally, she will support the consumer!

    July 23, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. mb-texas

    The right person for the position.

    July 23, 2010 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  20. Moe NY

    I think Elizabeth Warren would be an excellent person for the newly created CFPB...I researched, cannot find any government connections...which is certainly a plus. Hope she is appointed. Certainly do not want to see anyone appointed to this position with any connections to government. This country needs someone on the side of the consumer...for a change!

    July 23, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  21. Otto

    CNN you are too funny. I see in sections where some people would place comment on articles of the GOP; you don't allow response.

    I aslo notice you allow responses on all articles where the GOp can place comments to bash the DEMS.

    That's too funny and I know this comment will not be allowed. The question is; are you guys taking over from FOX? Stop going down hill and make up your mind. Either you are balanced or you are not.

    There are millions like myself that have noticed the change over these past months and are no longer holding you guys with regard. The same way I don't listen or watch FOX, the same for and will be for CNN.

    July 23, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  22. JES

    Under Obama the government keeps getting bigger and bigger.

    I thought Obama was going to make our government smaller.

    Guess not just like I thought more lies.

    July 23, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. Hope For Change

    Next fight? I doubt it. When is the next congressional recess?

    July 23, 2010 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  24. tel

    I do not care who the person is as long as the person truly looks after the consumers interests as opposed to big business and big banks. The American people deserve a person of committment such as Elizabeth Warren. WE THE PEOPLE have been battered by this recession and the lobbyists who work for big banks and business. Washington -do NOT make this into a political battle. Govern for us–the people of the USA.

    July 23, 2010 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  25. geminitwo

    talk about a select group of people trying to change out country – and not for the better. .. a little too extreme, eh?

    July 23, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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