ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
Noting that she will be able to make her “original vision a reality” President Obama formally appointed Elizabeth Warren as Assistant to the President & Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“Elizabeth understands what I strongly believe -- that a strong, growing economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class,” the president said from the Rose Garden this afternoon, “And that means every American has to get a fair shake in their financial dealings.”
The president said that both he -- and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner - agree that Warren is the best person to stand this agency up and get it off the ground, noting that the Bureau was her idea three years ago.
"She was the architect behind the idea for a consumer watchdog, so it only makes sense that she’d be the -- she should be the architect working with Secretary of Treasury Geithner in standing up the agency."
Warren will help oversee all aspects of the bureau’s creation, from staff recruitment to designing policy initiatives to future decisions about the agency, the president said, adding, “she will also play a pivotal role in helping me determine who the best choice is for director of the bureau."
Giving his personal assurance, the president said that Warren will have “direct access” to him and to Treasury Secretary Geithner.
The daughter of a janitor, the president said that Warren knows first-hand how financial struggles and foreclosures affect a family and has became, "one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class." The president - again bringing up a personal story - recalled when he and the First Lady were first starting a family and had to navigate difficult financial decisions.
"Obviously, we were better off than a lot of families, but we still often found ourselves confused or finding ourselves in tough situations as a consequence. So we’ve got a pretty good idea -- I’ve got a personally good idea of how this can be difficult and sometimes confusing for the average consumer."
At the top of his remarks the president mentioned yesterday's Census Bureau report showing that between 2001 and 2009, the incomes of middle-class families fell by almost 5 percent. "In the words of today’s Wall Street Journal, this 'lost decade' was the worst for families in half a century -- a decade that obviously ended in a devastating recession that made things even worse."
The president said that as the economy recovers the administration has to set their sights on policies that grow the middle class and provide a ladder for those who are struggling to join it.
"And that's why I am urging the leaders of the other party to stop holding middle-class tax cuts hostage and extend this relief to families immediately. They need it."