In a glowing speech in Cleveland, President Obama officially used his executive muscle to appoint Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Giving us a sneak peek at what we've heard will be his campaign strategy, the president wasn't shy about pointing his finger at the Republicans in Congress for not approving the appointment of Cordray -- "The right man for the job," Obama said -- and forcing him to make a recess-appointment. "When Congress refuses to act, I, as President, have an obligation to act on the behalf of the American people," Obama said, sounding like he was making a stump speech. Coincidentally or not, Obama's speech happened at the same time as John McCain's endorsement speech for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.
What followed was as much an attack on the GOP's handling of economic issues as it was a speech praising Cordray. The new head of America's first consumer protection agency didn't seem to mind too much and sat smiling to Obama's right. "I can't be distracted by that. I've got a big job to do and I need to be 100 percent focused on what we can do to protect American consumers," Cordray told Reuters just before Obama's speech.
"Now is not the time to play politics while people's livelihoods are at stake," Obama said in closing, and we're paraphrasing slightly until the official transcript is released. "I know you're hearing a lot of promises form a lot of politician lately, and today you're only going to hear one from me: As long as I'm President, I'll make sure to do everything to make this country a place, where hard work and responsibility mean something -- where everyone can get ahead."