Elizabeth Warren: Riding Herd on the Bailout

Bankers fear her. Treasury officials hate her. Can Elizabeth Warren really keep track of how $700 billion in taxpayer money is being spent?

Photograph by Danielle Levitt for TIME

Warren, a Harvard Law professor, was chosen by Senate Democrats to head the oversight panel in part because she is a Washington outsider.

Don't let my politeness fool you," says Elizabeth Warren. The Harvard Law professor and head of the congressional panel monitoring the bank bailout had just finished a hearing in New York City and was nibbling at a dish of pasta with zucchini. "I can't think of anyone I'm afraid of," she adds. "Certainly not someone who may have had a hand in bringing this country to the brink of disaster."

Warren, 59, is exceedingly polite. She has strong opinions, but she often expresses them in a whisper-soft voice. She tends to say "Does that make sense?" in her Oklahoma drawl right...

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