May 5th, 2009
09:35 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama picks new consumer product safety commissioner

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama has named Inez Tenenbaum to head the Consumer Produce Safety Commission"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama tapped former South Carolina education chief Inez Tenenbaum to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Tuesday.

"It is a top priority of my administration to ensure that the products the American people depend on are safe. We must do more to protect the American public – especially our nation's children – from being harmed by unsafe products," Obama said in a written statement.

The CPSC is slated to receive $107 million under the president's proposed budget. Obama has pledged to double funding for the commission.

Tenenbaum, 58, served two terms as South Carolina's superintendent of education, completing her second term in 2007. She was one of Obama's earliest presidential campaign allies, and co-chair of his South Carolina campaign steering committee.

Tenenbaum lost a 2004 U.S. Senate race to South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint.

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. joe smith

    how does one who has been in education, qualify for consumer product safety commissioner? one would think, a strong background in the medical/agricultrial/food processing field would be the logical choice; but, she and ms Harmon can get together at holiday time and discuss AIPAC..

    May 5, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. I laugh at Limbaugh daily

    Good luck to Inez Tennenbaum,but I just cant see the words education and South Carolina belonging in the same sentence,sorry.

    May 5, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    Can't wait to see how many more tax dollars are spent on what has become ridiculously huge overkill. I think we hit the level of diminishing returns on this front decades ago.

    May 5, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Jefe

    Shouldn't the head of the CPSC be someone who owns companies who have their products manufactured in China? Or is that only when we have a President who is willing to sacrifice American lives for the sake of increasing profits for companies who export jobs?

    May 5, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. TC

    Wasn't the 8th grader that asked President Obama to rebuild her school from South Carolina? Now he is choosing the state superintendent of education? I voted for this guy but now it seems to be a big mistake. He has made some bad decisions so far. I hope I am proven wrong.

    May 5, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. j

    The FDA, Dep` of Agriculture, and other agencies that were charged with food and product safety were "gutted" during the Republican years in their rush to "balance the budget", get Gov`t out of our business, etc. ( HA HA HA ) ---– You see it was just a bunch of crap they fed everyone while they lined their pockets and " gutted" the economy.--- Typical of the basic Repub. philosophy- I`ll get mine and to hell with you.

    May 5, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Mississippi Mike

    "Obama has pledged to double funding for the commission."

    Thanks again President Obama for spending more of my money to control more of my life. Obama just can't find enough noble causes to throw my hard-earned money at.

    May 5, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Lori

    What the heck is this for? Who needs safe products anyway? Who cares if our children have to use unsafe products? I am much more concerned with them having to pay taxes in the future- taxes they'd have to pay anyways but that's beside the point. Who does this President think he is caring about safe products in America? What a horible President.
    -a typical uneducated Republican response

    May 5, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. peter

    Senator Hatch told Obama not to pick a liberal on the supreme court?is this is why we elected Obama to do just that,if obama picks a center left canidate he will be taking a big chance,because it could turn the court 6-3 in favorite of the conservatives,am asking all the liberals to write the whitehouse in demand he picks a liberal,did bush pick a moderate?no he didnot,so why should obama do the same. if obama picks a moderate its going to force the liberals which represent 75% of the democratic vote to form our own party,because am tired of the democrats using moderates which only gives them 20% of the vote,but the moderates represent 95% of obamas cabinet,its time to go out on our own liberals,by 2016 the far left will represent 45% of the vote in this country,we wont need the moderates anymore,in thats is what obama is a moderate right politican when is us liberals going to do something about it,i say its time to do it right now.

    May 5, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. S Callahan

    Congratulations to your new role...many a parent are depending on your efficency.

    May 5, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Machiavelli, Baton Rouge, LA

    I do not care who the commissioner is as much as I care if they do a good job of protecting the American consumer.

    First and foremost, the commissioner should start her job by instituting careful insight of all imported goods, especially those goods coming from China. I deeply feel that the Chinese government intentionally imported products laced with dangerous chemicals in an effort to bring harm to the American people.

    Time and again, we have uncovered incidents of Chinese products being laced with dangerous chemicals that would kill and elephant, and yet corporations and our government has allowed the continued increase of imported goods from China to enter our shores and be distributed to all Americans. Where has the protection been?

    This is a case of declared war on the part of China.

    May 5, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Really

    Not sure why some seem to think that consumer product safety is not important but would guess that the same people would be the first to contact a PI Lawyer.
    As to the "no experience in consumer safety" group.......You put someone in the position to RUN THE DEPARTMENT is the experience of running something and I think in this instance it is having someone who has the experience in making change to something needs said change. But that would just be common sense.............lost on most I am certain.

    May 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. obama/mama

    As long as she gets the job done.....

    May 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Mike in MN

    I think we should all be very concerned when someone with a background in education is put in a position of product safety. How does that make her qualified? The person in charge of product safety should have a background and experience in consumer products. Maybe worked for a consumer product publication or consumer product research or held a prior government position in the government consumer product saftey commision. This does not make me feel safe. This is just another reward to the unions that funded Obama's campaign.

    May 5, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Byron NC

    "She was one of Obama's earliest presidential campaign allies, and co-chair of his South Carolina campaign steering committee. "

    And now, she collects the bill.

    May 5, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. whaley41

    SC was 48th in education when she took over the education dept and still 48th when she left. I hope she does better at this job. SC still has a democrat heading the dept of education and we are still LAST!

    May 5, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Michael

    Another good change long overdue.
    Hopefully "unsafe products" will include much of the awful garbage passed off as "food products" by industries. Americans have the worst diets in the developed world.

    May 5, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. American Idol hater

    End NAFTA. This agreement sent all our jobs to overseas countries that don't have EPA standards or pollution controls or quality controls. Greed is putting our kids at risk. Buy American products only....

    May 5, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. dan

    I have to agree with many others here. How does someone who spent their career in education qualify for consumer safety commissioner?

    May 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |