Romney, Santorum bash Obama recess appointment. Why that could backfire.
The Obama administration argues that the recess appointment is necessary so the CFPB can perform its duties despite Republican obstructionism. Republicans may challenge the president in court.
Republicans in Congress aren't the only ones criticizing President Obama for making a controversial "recess appointment" to install Richard Cordray as head of a new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Skip to next paragraph
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So have the presidential candidates who posted the strongest finishes in the Iowa's Republican caucus Tuesday.
Rick Santorum said "this is not something that the president should get away with," suggesting that the Senate take Mr. Obama to court to overturn the appointment.
It isn't just the new financial-sector watchdog in the eye of this storm.
Obama followed his appointment of Mr. Cordray Wednesday, during a Senate break, with similar recess appointments to another body that has stirred partisan rancor in recent months: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
“This president ... is engaging in crony capitalism,” Mr. Romney said in New Hampshire Thursday, according to a New York Times report. “It is happening with the Labor Relations Board.” Romney's implication is that some of Obama's appointees are aligned ideologically with organized labor.
Romney is also rolling out a TV ad in South Carolina, one of the next primary contests, that criticizes recent labor board decisions.
The Obama administration argues that the appointments to both the labor board and the CFPB are necessary so these bodies can perform their duties despite Republican obstructionism.
"When Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them," Obama said in Ohio Wednesday. "I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve."
In one sense, the war of words is not surprising.
Republican candidates are criticizing Obama on many fronts these days. And in this case they're joining in a chorus echoed by congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell, the party's leader in the Senate. The Senate is tasked by the Constitution with confirming key presidential appointments.
But the criticism comes from two candidates who hope to occupy the Oval Office, and may someday find themselves in a similar position as Obama. President Bush used the tactic against Democratic opposition, for example.