Obama says won't take "no" on consumer watchdog

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 10, 2011 6:08 AM
Obama says won't take "no" on consumer watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Saturday said he will not take "no" for an answer on his nominee to head a new consumer watchdog agency, despite Republicans vowing to block him.

Obama has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But Republicans are promising to block the nomination until changes are made in how the new agency operates.

Obama said a consumer watchdog is needed to prevent Wall Street from taking advantage of Main Street.

"See, for too long, the rules weren't the same on Wall Street as they were on Main Street," Obama said in his weekly radio and online address.

"Risky bets were made with other people's money. Some folks made a lot of money taking advantage of consumers. It was wrong," he said. "And this irresponsible behavior on the part of some contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression."

Democrats in Congress say they have no intention of compromising, even if it means the new consumer bureau will be without a leader until after the 2012 elections.

"So I refuse to take 'no' for an answer. Financial institutions have plenty of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists looking out for them," Obama said. "It's time consumers had someone on their side."

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Todd Eastham)