Obama To Reappoint Bernanke Fed Chief

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A White House official says President Obama will reappoint Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke was first nominated to the post by President Bush in 2006.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Ben Bernanke will be reappointed to his position as Federal Reserve chairman. A White House official tells NPR that President Obama will formally make the announcement tomorrow morning from Martha's Vineyard.

And joining us now to talk about this reappointment is NPR's John Ydstie.

John, what has Ben Bernanke accomplished as Fed chairman so far, at least according to the Obama administration?

JOHN YDSTIE: Well, according to The Wall Street Journal, Rahm Emanuel is saying that Mr. Obama is reappointing Ben Bernanke because he pulled the economy back from the brink of depression. And, indeed, Bernanke was very creative and forceful during this economic crisis and took the Fed places no chairman had ever done before.

He was - drove interest rates to zero. He was lending money to rescue firms like Bear Sterns and AIG. He developed loan programs to unfreeze the credit crunch and support car loans, student loans and mortgage loans.

So he's done a lot. And I think you could arguably say he was the most important person in terms of the officials from Henry Paulson to Tim Geithner in, you know, saving the country or pulling the country back from the abyss.

BLOCK: And President Obama to make this announcement tomorrow morning from his vacation spot on Martha's Vineyard. What do you make of the timing of this, John?

YDSTIE: Well, I think the president really wanted to end the questions. There was question about whether he would reappoint Mr. Bernanke, whether he might appoint Larry Summers, his chief economic adviser or someone else, Alan Blinder, a Princeton economist. There were a number of people who were in the running, people thought.

I think most people thought he would reappoint Mr. Bernanke and that's what he's going to do. And I think it will help - you know, the financial markets don't like uncertainty. This will help settle them down. They're in a nice rally right now and it's not the kind of thing that you want to end or want it to frustrate by keeping people guessing.

And I also think the president himself has a lot of things on his plate. And getting this off his plate, making this a non-issue right now is probably quite useful for him.

BLOCK: Thank you, John.

YDSTIE: You're welcome.

BLOCK: That's NPR's John Ydstie talking about news that President Obama will reappoint Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

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