September 16th, 2010
09:28 PM ET
12 years ago

White House and Warren: kicking the can down the road?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama will announce on Friday that he is creating an advisory role for Elizabeth Warren."]
Washington (CNN) – Is President Obama delaying an inevitable confrontation with his progressive base over Elizabeth Warren?

Progressive activists welcomed news that the president is creating a role for Warren that will allow her to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency from inside the Treasury Department. A number of groups, including and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee organized campaigns pressuring the White House to name the outspoken consumer advocate director of the new agency. Once news broke that the president was naming her to this new role, they released statements praising Warren's appointment provided - as the PCCC statement says - she is "given full power to run the new consumer protection bureau".

And there's the problem.

In conversations with leading progressive activists it's clear many of them assume in this new role Warren will lead the agency. These activists won't speak for attribution for fear of antagonizing the White House right before the Warren announcement. Privately they tell CNN they see this appointment as the administration's clever way to avoid a drawn out confirmation battle. In other words, they believe she is getting the top job in fact just not in title. One key activist tells CNN, if she doesn't lead the new agency progressives "will be pissed."

It seems that day is coming.

A White House official says they expect Warren's role at Treasury to last for months not years. The official explains once the agency is open for business Warren can't lead it from the post they've created for her at Treasury. The official insists she will play "a pivotal role" in determining who the president nominates for that top job. Reading between the lines, don't expect the White House to nominate her.

Apparently, the White House is kicking that can down the road.

There's also pressure from the Senate. Democratic Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd is pressing for the White House to nominate a director quickly. A Democratic aide says Dodd would like to see this happen in the next few weeks so it's clear the president isn't trying to backdoor Warren into the job. The White House says it will take months to nominate a director.

Sound messy? The White House official insists this is the best way to ensure Warren "plays a central role" at a "pivotal time for the new agency." The source adds, "The alternative is going through many months if not more than a year long battle which the president is happy to have. But that would put her on the sidelines and silence her" for the duration of the fight.

This source says in the new role Warren will lead the effort to organize the new agency, including recruiting staff and overseeing policy initiatives.

Filed under: Elizabeth Warren • President Obama • White House
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Cocitizen

    Boy what a surprise. He just keeps kicking his progressive base in the teeth. What is the man thinking? Does he think he got to the White House on his looks. While you cannot win an election with only the support of your base, it is certain you will lose an election without the support of your base. Maybe 2010 will be a wake up call for him. I am not optimistic. He has an arrogance that surpasses all bounds of explanation.

    September 16, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. Another End Around

    Yet another crooked tactic to further the agenda, from kissing the butts of a certain religion, to bowing to foreign dictators, to running America down to other countries and having no clue about economics, this guy is a real disaster

    September 16, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  3. Glenn Koons

    Oh just what America needs, another Harvard czar . What a tyrant this guy in the WH is. She has no experience and we Americans do not need another czar to tell us how to live our private lives. Let us stop all this soviet style of baloney. Enough with this character and all the elites he puts in power to push liberties to the back of the bus.

    September 16, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |

    Don't let Obama get away with the appointment of this woman. She knows absolutely nothing aout the job he is putting her in. It will be just another strain of the taxpayers dollars with no results. Other than what Obama the idiot wants. We can't stand no more from a man who intends to destroy America. IMPEACH HIM NOW.

    September 16, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  5. WalterJesseSmith

    Obama is so spineless! He lets a lame duck Senator Dodd push the President into shadowy maybe this, maybe that kind of let's just stall until after January, then Senator Dodd will be what he has always really been: Senator Dud.

    September 16, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    When there are so many obstructionists that are in the GOP, why bother doing it now. I would really like if the GOP would say that they are going to voice their opposition when they vote but let the business of the Senate move forward.

    September 16, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Tinkers Dam

    Another opportunity for the Kenyan to expand government and cost the tax payers more money.

    September 16, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. FlyReelMan

    She must be intelligent and fair or she would not be getting so much opposition.

    September 16, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |

    In my own personal opinion she should be made the perament director of this new agency to help protect the consumers in this country an for eveybody to quit worrring about offending big coporate special instrest groups that are in fact in a round about ways raping an pilliging the genral public with execssive fees an up caarges an anything else tha they as coporations can possibly think up to add additional charges to consumers of anything in this country. thank you

    September 16, 2010 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. Gary's Thoughts

    Obama is taking too much power with this appointment and all the czar appointments....just get senate approval, just do the right thing.

    September 16, 2010 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  11. aunt Bea and Opie

    Shes a great choice to police the criminals on Wall Street,all of whom are crooks out to rob the middle class blind.

    September 16, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. George of the jungle

    Good for the president. He is still waiting for comformation of most appointees. So screw the repos. If half of them spent the money they make running for office like the broads in California they could pay the higher taxes for people making over 250,000. But they would rather spend 119 million for a 100,00. dollar a year job. Go figure. Vote all repos out. What a mess it will be in this country if some of these nut jobs get in office.

    September 16, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  13. Cryos

    People criticized Bush for power grabs? Suckers.

    September 17, 2010 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  14. Time Grows Short

    The Obama thugocracy continues to oozz like a rotting corpse. November, come quickly.

    September 17, 2010 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  15. Rob Johnson

    Progressives don't have to be happy about things like this, but they need to be realistic about the political climate Obama is working in. I don't know if some of these people have noticed, but Obama doesn't exactly have a lot of political leverage right now.

    Heck, Obama got both Sotomayor and Kagan on the Supreme Court, passed health care, and pulled combat troops out of Iraq, all while facing vicious opposition from the right, and he still gets flak from the left?.

    The idea that progressives or liberals have any reason to complain about this President is mind-boggling. Have they forgotten Bush that quickly?

    September 17, 2010 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. Snow

    Typical obama, he knows even democrats will have a problem with this radical so he will try to back door the Senate again.

    September 17, 2010 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  17. lady c

    wow we have a smart president.

    September 17, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  18. gerald paddock

    good for him im tired of these no rebs and i glad she is going to do this she is a strong person for this and to hell with the no people .

    September 17, 2010 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  19. Peter s

    Do what right for the Nation, if she will be able to control deceit and greed so be it!

    September 17, 2010 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  20. jules sand-perkins

    Penance for America's Obama mistake is that we have to put up with his kicking cans down roads until 2012.
    Even on this CNN comment space, excitement over his possibly dropping out of that race–unfortunately, a false HOPE–showed what success he can expect then: many comments were excited in HOPE that he would resign or withdraw from the 2012 race.
    I am more convinced by every action that President Obama takes that he is a much bigger failure than President Jimmy Carter.

    September 17, 2010 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  21. Jim

    There should more rules forcing the Senate to give up or down votes on candidates within a reasonavle period of time. Its gotten completely out of hand.

    September 17, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |