Harkin circulates letter backing Elizabeth Warren as consumer bureau head

Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinThe Hill's 12:30 Report Distance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds MORE (D-Iowa) is looking to gather senators behind a possible nomination of Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Michelle Obama is exactly who the Democrats need to win big in 2020 Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE as first head of a new consumer financial protection office.

Harkin is circulating a letter in the Senate that urges President Obama to consider nominating Warren as the first head of the bureau, which is a key part of sweeping financial legislation Congress finalized on Thursday. David Axelrod, senior White House adviser, said Friday that Warren is "obviously a candidate" alongside a few others.

Harkin said in the draft letter to Obama that establishing the new bureau is "among the most important challenges you face in implementing this historic legislation."

"It will be especially important that the first director be someone who will not cave-in when pressured by the financial industry, which we expect will be enormous," he said. "Indeed, someone with a track record akin to that of Professor Warren would be the type of person we believe is necessary to head this bureau."

Warren, a Harvard law professor, first championed the idea of setting up a consumer protection regulator over financial products such as home loans and credit cards. Warren is also head of a congressional oversight panel for the $700 billion financial bailout.