PR Blitz Aims To Win Support For Obama Nominee

The Obama administration is turning up the heat on Republican Senators who've threatened to block confirmation of Richard Cordray, a former attorney general from Ohio who is the president's nominee to head a new financial watchdog agency. A Senate vote is expected Thursday.

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Some other news. The Senate is expected to vote today on President Obama's nominee to head a new financial watchdog agency. The White House has waged a high-profile PR campaign, but has not been able to shake off Republican opposition.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The new agency was set up to protect consumers against risky mortgages, credit cards, and the like. But until it has a confirmed director, it can't police some of the worst offenders, including payday lenders and unscrupulous debt collectors. Most Senate Republicans have vowed not to confirm any director, until they see changes in the agency.

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby says his beef is not with nominee Richard Cordray, a former attorney general from Ohio.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: This isn't about him. It's about the structure of this - a powerful; I think a monster, to over-regulate our economy.

HORSLEY: President Obama insists too little regulation is what led to the financial crisis. All this week, the White House has been staging a PR blitz for Cordray. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff called the nominee brilliant and balanced and urged his fellow Republicans to support him.

MARK SHURTLEFF: If my party wants to change the law, if they get into power and able to that, fine. But in the meantime, we have a job to do.

HORSLEY: It's doubtful the PR campaign will sway many Republican votes in the Senate. But it's another chance for the president to align himself with Main Street consumers, while painting Republicans as carrying water for Wall Street.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House.

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