In a conference call yesterday afternoon, Elizabeth Warren sidestepped the question of whether she’s running for the Senate seat from Massachusetts.
“I’ve been hard at work setting up this consumer agency, working 14-hour days,” she said. “I can’t remember the last time I had a day off. My plans include taking my grandchildren to Legoland. That’s as far as I can see right now. I have to get back home to Massachusetts.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee seems to take that as a maybe, since they’re already sending out a Draft Elizabeth Warren email.
Warren said she supported President Obama’s choice of Robert Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“I don’t want to hurt this agency. That’s what matter most to me. If I’m drawing fire to the agency, that’s it. I want to do what works for the agency,” she said. “This is the White House strategy, and I’m 100 percent behind it.”
She said pointedly that “the people who are trying to prevent this agency are the Republicans. We wouldn’t have this agency if it wasn’t for this president. They like the old system, with seven different agencies for consumer protection, nobody responsible and accountable to the American people. I’m saving all the rocks in my pocket for Republicans.”
Warren said that having a nominee “frees us up to have a big political discussion, or, if you like, fight. We are now able to have a free and open discussion about this agency. The Republicans want that fight. We can now have that fight in a full and vigorous way, at high volume.”
She warned that Republicans are counting on the word about the new agency “not drifting back to their constituents at home” and asked bloggers to keep writing about it. “There are still very powerful Republican senators who think crippling this agency is important,” she said.
I asked if the new bureau would be addressing consumer arbitration, an area rife with abuse. “We have a responsibility to review the impact of arbitration. What I’ll say is, watch this space,” she said.
To a question about Sheila Bair’s recent statement about the size of the mortgage fraud problem, she responded, “I’ll stand with Sheila Bair on this one. She testified three weeks ago that we still don’t know the depth of the problem. I think that says it all. We don’t know. She said millions of mortgage could be affected by this? I have to agree with her.”
Saying “change comes from people pushing on many different pieces,” Warren was very positive about the potential for keep the CFPB accountable to the people.
“In the hiring, it’s been very important to me that two things happen simultaneously. We’re here to serve American families – not the banks, not Congress. We come to that position from a variety of backgrounds,” she said, citing the wide and varied expertise of the new agency employees.
“For instance, we’re not going to hire just one group of economists who all have the same view. That carries with it the risk of intellectual capture. We’ve increased the odds that we’ll stay on mission.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about this,” she said.
Uh oh! I guess somebody’s going to get a stern letter, and they’ll have to promise not to do it again:
HELENA, Mont. — A newly discovered oil spill in northwestern Montana went unreported for a month before a neighboring landowner complained to the Blackfeet Indian Tribe, federal regulators said Monday.
FX Drilling Co. never reported the spill, estimated to be between 420 and 840 gallons, to the tribe or to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA spokesman Joe Vranka said.
The amount spilled at the FX Drilling Co. oil field in a remote corner of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation appears to be much less than the estimated 42,000 gallons that emptied into the Yellowstone River earlier this month. But the northwestern Montana spill comes at a time when all pipeline and oil operations in the state are under scrutiny as a result of the larger Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline break.
The company discovered the break in the flow line between two oil wells on June 12 and shut down the line, Vranka said. Company officials may have believed the spill didn’t go beyond the oil field, he said, when oil had actually flowed down a ravine nearly a mile to the Cut Bank Creek, which connects with the Marias River.
A neighboring landowner notified the Blackfeet tribe last Tuesday, and the tribe in turn notified the EPA. Officials from the federal agency made the first contact with FX Drilling by calling the company, Vranka said.
The company had 24 hours to report a spill once it reached the waterway, Vranka said. The federal agency is looking into possible penalties against the independent oil and gas producer.
I figured Karl Rove and his friends at Crossroads weren’t going to wait much longer before cutting Michele Bachmann’s candidacy off at the knees, and here it is: A report in the Daily Caller (Tucker Carlson’s private high-school newsletter) leaking the story about how people are “concerned” about her migraines and alleged heavy use of medications. They say they’re talking about it now because if she gets the nomination, the story will come out too late to stop Obama:
The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.
[...] “She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they’re unpredictable,” says an adviser to Bachmann who was involved in her 2010 congressional campaign. “They level her. They put her down. It’s actually sad. It’s very painful.”
Bachmann’s medical condition wouldn’t merit public attention, but for the fact she is running for president. Some close to Bachmann fear she won’t be equal to the stress of the campaign, much less the presidency itself.
“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”
To staff, Bachmann has implausibly blamed the headaches on uncomfortable high-heel shoes, but those who have worked closely with her cite stress, a busy schedule and anything going badly for Bachmann as causes.
Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Bachmann, said ”she suffers from migraines and they’re under control with medicine.” Stewart contested descriptions of the episodes as “incapacitating” Bachmann but did not specify how the descriptions were wrong. “The information you have is incorrect,” Stewart said. She declined to discuss Bachmann’s hospital visits at all, saying, “I’m not going to go into her medical history.”
On the evening of May 13, 2010, Bachmann flew to Los Angeles for a series of political and fundraising events. In part because of complications with her flight schedule, Bachmann’s mood plunged. During the entire six-hour flight, she was desperately sick from headaches.
[...] Of particular concern to some around her is the significant amount of medication Bachmann takes to address her condition.
The former aide says Bachmann’s congressional staff is “constantly” in contact with her doctors to tweak the types and amounts of medicine she is taking. Marcus Bachmann helps her manage the episodes.
Sources who spoke to The Daily Caller said they did so because they are terrified about the impact the condition could have on Bachmann’s performance if she actually became president. They also worry that the issue could blow up in the general election campaign, giving President Obama an easy path to re-election.
“It’s a careful choice of words I used: ‘incapacitated,’” the adviser says.