The White House is zeroing in on close associates of law professor Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken critic of Wall Street, to head the new U.S. consumer financial agency, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.
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Warren has long been considered a front-runner to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will be charged with reining in abuses on issues such as credit card fees and mortgage-lending practices.
But among President Barack Obama’s aides, there is disagreement over whether it would be wise for him to take on a highly visible fight to secure confirmation for Warren in the U.S. Senate.
Warren, who championed the consumer agency, has run into strong opposition from Republicans who say she would be too confrontational toward the financial industry.
But picking anyone other than Warren could be problematic for Obama because it would risk disappointing Democratic activists whose enthusiasm the president is counting on to help fuel his re-election bid in 2012.