Consumer advocate Warren: call me "dog-catcher"

WASHINGTON Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:16pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration's new consumer advocate, Elizabeth Warren, said on Friday she was more interested in getting started setting up a consumer financial protection agency than being its director.

President Barack Obama named the Wall Street critic to an advisory position on Friday, bypassing a potentially drawn-out Senate confirmation process if he had nominated her to be the agency's head. Her job now will involve setting up the agency that is at the heart of his financial regulation reform law.

In television interviews Warren largely sidestepped questions about whether she still wanted to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The White House declined to say definitively that she was ruled out as a future candidate, though it said she would play an instrumental role in choosing the director.

Warren said the issue of a nomination had been on the table during her conversations with Obama.

"He said, 'You can get to work tomorrow if you don't care much about titles,'" she told ABC television. "I said, 'Mr. President, that's the job I want, let me go to work tomorrow. That's what I want to do.'"

On Bloomberg television she said: "If I was looking for a nomination, the time for me to say that was in conversations I had with the president."

Warren, who is disliked by many on Wall Street for her calls to crack down on abusive lending practices by financial firms, said her main goal in taking the adviser job was to get the agency up and running.

"I'm coming to Washington to try to help get this agency started, to do the things we need to do for American families and to get these markets up and functioning," she said on Fox television. "And if I can be helpful, I don't care if you call me the dog-catcher."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Ross Colvin and Diane Bartz; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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