Elizabeth Warren Gets A Thumbs Down From Newspaper Funded By Billionaire Pete Peterson

Fiscal Times Questions Elizabeth Warren's Candidacy

The Fiscal Times, an online newspaper funded by Blackstone co-founder and former Council of Foreign Relations chair Peter Peterson, has published two articles in four days which cast some doubt over Warren's bid to become the first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

A feature entitled, "Elizabeth Warren: Candid, Gutsy, and Making Enemies," written by Eric Pianin and published last Friday, describes Warren as having a "school-girl hair cut" and "habit of saying 'golly'." It cites an anonymous source criticizing Warren's embrace of behavioral economics:

Warren adheres to behavioral economics theory where basically consumers are [considered] misinformed, irrational and can't really make decisions in a clear-eyed way, so the only way to really protect the consumers is to make sure the government is in there rationing credit cards that are available to them," said an industry group expert who declined to be identified in discussing her group's views on Warren.

The second, an op-ed by John Berry, was published yesterday and is entitled, "Elizabeth Warren: Does She Have The Judgment To Lead?" Berry contends that Warren, a strong critic of the AIG bailout, "simply ignored reality in asserting that the government 'failed to exhaust all options' before risking taxpayer money in the rescue."

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon sensed a "strange bias" from the paper. (Peterson, no fan of government regulation, is spending $1 billion of his fortune to raise alarms over the U.S. deficit.)

Warren has become something of a hot-button issue for politicians, perhaps because of her strong advocacy for consumer rights and policing of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program.

In recent months, Warren has practically polarized Congress. The administration has floated other candidates, such as assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr and Justice Department attorney Eugene Kimmelman.

Like a presidential nominee, Warren has received the backing of newspapers: she's won the endorsement of outlets like the New York Times and her hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe.

Warren's visit to the White House last Thursday sparked rumors and White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage added: "The president believes that Elizabeth Warren is a champion for middle class families and consumers and she, among others, is a strong contender for this position." On "Good Morning America," Treasury chief Timothy Geithner said:

"I want to say this very clearly. She I think would be a very effective, very capable leader of that new entity because she, more than almost anybody else in the country, was early and strong in pointing out the need for better consumer protection," [Geithner] told me.

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