Thursday, March 25, 2010

You had me at 'predatory lending'

Great article about Elizabeth Warren in the NYTimes

"I learned early on what debt means, how vulnerable it makes people, what the security of owning a home means," Ms. Warren said, her eyes welling. Even today, Ms. Warren's daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi said, her mother is so frugal that she eats shriveled grapes out of the fruit bowl.

Six years ago, Ms. Warren was one of the few guests at a Harvard Law School faculty reception for Barack Obama, an alum then running for a United States Senate seat in Illinois. He greeted her with two words: “predatory lending,” signaling he knew her work. He began to talk about dicey mortgages and abusive credit products and their shattering effect on families, Ms. Warren recalled. Finally, she cut him off.

“You had me at ‘predatory lending,’ ” she said. A few years later, Mr. Obama was promoting her idea for a consumer agency on the presidential campaign trail.

Meanwhile, in October 2008, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, called out of the blue and asked Ms. Warren to head Congressional oversight of the bank bailout. It was a vague job, sketched out in a hurry, but she interpreted her mandate aggressively. Instead of issuing standard monthly reports, she turned them into independent research projects, bulletins and videos asking pointed questions about Treasury’s treatment of the banks.

and then later in the article...
"This is America's middle class," she recently said on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." "We've hacked at it and pulled at it and chipped at it for 30 years now and now there's no more to do. We fix this problem going forward, or the game really is over."

“When you say it like that and you look at me like that, I know your husband is backstage, I still want to make out with you,” Mr. Stewart responded.

Oh yes, Jon Stewart really did say that:

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