Federal Reserve

Clinton backs vice-chairman for top Fed post

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 4:03am

Former United States president Bill Clinton said Janet Yellen would be "great" as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve and defended Lawrence Summers, who withdrew his name from consideration amid lawmaker opposition.

"I also consider Janet Yellen a friend and I think she has shown good judgment," Clinton said on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS programme.

"She's been right on everything that's happened in this whole aftermath of the financial crisis. So if she gets the job, I'll be thrilled, too."

The likelihood of Yellen, 67, replacing Ben Bernanke as Fed chief has increased as White House officials began gauging lawmakers' support and she won the backing of a top Senate Democrat. She currently is vice chairman of the Fed, where Clinton said she has "done a fabulous job".

Senator Charles Schumer of New York, a senior member of the Banking Committee, said last week that Yellen would be an "excellent choice" to succeed Bernanke when his term expires on January 31.

Clinton defended Summers, who served under his administration as treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001.

Summers withdrew his name from consideration as Fed chairman following opposition from some Democrats, women's groups, and other advocacy organisations against his potential nomination.

"I think there's this kind of cartoon image that's been developed that somehow Larry Summers was a one-note Johnny, just trying to let big financial titans ravage the land," Clinton said. "It's just ludicrous."

Summers served as director of the National Economic Council for President Barack Obama from January 2009 until November 2010.

"He played a central role in helping President Obama use the power of the government to try to bring the economy back when we were on the brink of just sliding into depression when he took office," Clinton said.