- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2008

Barack Obama” href=”/themes/?Theme=Barack+Obama” >President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday said he will impose “a shift in ethics” on Wall Street, arguing for new, aggressive controls on markets as he named his financial regulatory team.

We have been asleep at the switch — not just some regulatory agencies but some of the congressional committees,” Mr. Obama said at a press conference in Chicago, also blaming “a White House that started with the premise that deregulation was always good.”

“We are going to have to greatly strengthen our regulatory apparatus,” he said, adding one key focus will be to make sure regulations drawn to apply to banks are extended to cover the “huge amounts of money [that] are sloshing around outside of banks.”

Mr. Obama tapped Mary Schapiro to be the next chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler to be chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Dan Tarullo as a new member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

Mr. Obama also defended his decision to have the Rick Warren” href=”/themes/?Theme=Rick+Warren” >Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., deliver the invocation at Mr. Obama’s inauguration.

The pick has angered some of Mr. Obama’s supporters who oppose Mr. Warren’s views, which generally hew to socially conservative religious tenets.

Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesnt need or deserve this position of honor,” said People for the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert.

But Mr. Obama said Mr. Warren’s selection is part of a new attitude of reaching out to have a dialogue. Mr. Obama said he’d been invited to speak at Mr. Warren’s church, even though they disagree on issues.

“It is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues,” Mr. Obama said.

Representatives of a new coalition of labor unions and liberal groups backing Mr. Obama’s economic agenda said Thursday they were not concerned about Mr. Warren’s selection.

“I don’t believe Rick Warren will have any impact on the administration’s policies at all,” said Alan Charney, program director for USAction, a progressive grass-roots organizing group. “The policy direction is coming from another direction.”