Elizabeth Warren’s Meeting at the White House

Aug 12, 2010 6:46pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Matthew Jaffe report:

Elizabeth Warren this afternoon met at the White House with David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, where the possibility of her heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was discussed, but not decided on, a White House official confirms.

President Obama did not meet with Warren today.

“The President believes that Elizabeth Warren is a champion for middle class families and consumers and she, among others, is a strong contender for this position,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement. “The President has not yet made a decision and no announcement is imminent.”

This week White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton echoed those sentiments during a press gaggle en route to Texas, saying that he has no update on timing beyond that an announcement wouldn’t be made this week. And Burton also downplayed the notion that Elizabeth Warren would be hard to confirm on the Hill, should she be the nominee.

“A lot of folks have opinions about Elizabeth Warren and other candidates,” Burton said Monday. “It’s the White House’s view that Elizabeth Warren would be confirmable.”

Last week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president has started interviews for potential nominees. Warren is considered one of the leading candidates for the position, in part because she is largely credited with the idea of the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the financial reform bill.

Warren's Congressional Oversight Panel released a new report today saying – unsurprisingly – that foreign firms benefited more from the $700 billion US bank bailout than US firms benefited from foreign rescue efforts.

The watchdog cited that the US bailout basically flooded money into as many banks as possible – including international ones – but other nations specifically targeted their rescue efforts towards their own domestic firms that had no US operations.

“As a result, it appears likely that America’s financial rescue had a much greater impact internationally than other nations’ programs had on the United States,” the panel said. “This outcome was likely inevitable given the structure of the TARP, but if the US government had gathered more information about which countries’ institutions would most benefit from some of its actions, it might have been able to ask those countries to share the pain of rescue.”

The most egregious case? AIG, naturally, where tens of billions of US taxpayer dollars went to Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale, among others. The US bore the entire $70 billion risk of the insurance giant’s capital injection program, far exceeding the size of France’s entire $35 billion overall stability program and nearly half the size of Germany’s $133 billion efforts.

Going forward, the panel said, an international plan should be developed to “handle the collapse of major, globally significant financial institutions.”

Warren's candidacy to become CFPB boss has been imperiled by talk that her straight-shooting, no-holds-barred role as a watchdog may have alienated folks on the Hill.

The rift however, between Warren and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has been well reported. Asked earlier this month by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Geithner said she would be a fine choice, yet was asked if she would be his choice.

“I want to say this very clearly,” Geithner said, “She I think would be a very effective, very capable leader of that new entity because she, more than almost anybody else in the country, was early and strong in pointing out the need for better consumer protection.”

In the wake of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ comment on the “professional left” this week, there is even more of a storm brewing as liberals, progressives, and labor unions push President Obama to appoint her to head the agency.

-Sunlen Miller and Matthew Jaffe

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