President Obama said he has a range of outstanding candidates to be the next Federal Reserve chair in a press conference this afternoon.
The new Fed leader should have an eye on inflation, promote growth, but focus on reducing unemployment, the president noted.
The conversation diverted from national security, the intended topic, when CBS News’ Major Garrett asked the president to respond to reports that Larry Summers heads the pack to replace Ben Bernanke when his term ends in January.
Obama said both Summers and Janet Yellen, the Fed’s Vice Chair and reportedly Summers’ main competition, were “outstanding candidates,” though in a slip of the tongue, Obama called the Vice Chair “Mr. Yellen” (Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, is actually a Nobel Prize-winning economist, for what it’s worth).
Obama said he decided to push back against those bad-mouthing his former economic adviser because Summers was “getting slapped around the press for no reason.”
The president joked that he would defend any pal under fire, even Garrett, the reporter who asked the question.
Obama end his response by reiterating that a decision on the next Fed head would come in the fall.