WASHINGTON (AP) — In a history-making selection, President Barack Obama nominated Janet Yellen to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, a critical post as the nation continues its fitful economic recovery. If confirmed she would be the first woman to lead the powerful central bank.
Yellen, who currently holds the No. 2 spot at the Fed, would replace Ben Bernanke, whose eight-year tenure at the helm of the Fed ends Jan. 31.
Obama introduced Yellen as a "proven leader." ''And she's tough, not just because she's from Brooklyn," he said. He credited her for being a consensus builder, adding: "She understands the human cost when people can't find a job."
Before selecting Yellen, Obama had considered nominating former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who had been a close Obama adviser during the first years of his presidency. But Summers withdrew in the face of opposition over his temperament and past support for bank deregulation.
Obama heaped praise on Bernanke for taking "bold action" at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 to "shore up our banks and get credit flowing again."
"Ben Bernanke is the epitome of calm, and against the volatility of global markets he's been a voice of wisdom and a steady hand," Obama said.