Jobs report, consumer agency on tap for Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama plans to visit the offices of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday, just two days after defying Senate Republicans and appointing a new head to the watchdog agency.

The president will drop by the bureau just hours after the government announces unemployment figures for December. A mix of private and government data on Thursday prompted new optimism about a rebounding jobs market.

If Friday’s jobs report shows improvement over the 8.6 percent unemployment rate registered in November, Obama would have an opportunity to talk up his economic policies while casting himself as a protector of consumers. A rise in joblessness would complicate the president’s message.

Obama on Wednesday named Richard Cordray to lead the consumer bureau, using a Senate recess to circumvent Republican opposition.