WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is vowing to fight any efforts to block the work of a new consumer protection bureau as he introduces a former Ohio attorney general to run the agency.

If confirmed by the Senate, Richard Cordray would head the agency tasked with being a government watchdog over mortgages, credit cards and other forms of lending. Obama says the agency will protect the public from financial fraud and abuse.

Obama and Cordray were joined in the Rose Garden by Elizabeth Warren, a special assistant to the president who had been charged with getting the agency started. Consumer groups wanted her to head it, but she was strongly opposed by Republicans and would have faced a difficult confirmation fight.

Republicans have already threatened to block Cordray’s Senate confirmation as well.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.