Obama Wants Some ‘Space’ to Make Fed Decision

VINEYARD HAVEN, Massachusetts (Reuters) -
President Barack Obama drives a golf cart with World Bank President Jim Kim during a golf outing at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
President Barack Obama drives a golf cart with World Bank President Jim Kim during a golf outing at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

President Barack Obama wants some “space” to make a decision on who to nominate to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve when his term expires in January, a source familiar with the process said.

Obama is considering a handful of candidates for the top job at the U.S. central bank. The front-runners are believed to be former Treasury Secretary and Obama economic adviser Larry Summers and current Fed Vice chair Janet Yellen.

White House officials were annoyed when a group of Democrats in the Senate wrote a letter to Obama strongly urging the president to pick Yellen.

White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors addressed the issue with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, the source said. Reid’s staff reiterated that he would support the president’s choice, no matter who he picks.

Obama said last week he would make his decision in the fall. During a press conference he also defended Summers — as he did with Democrats on Capitol Hill — and said he was being unfairly maligned.

Summers was a top economic adviser to Obama during the first half of his first term.

Liberal-leaning critics have knocked Summers for his role in spearheading financial deregulation in the 1990s and for not pushing for a greater amount of stimulus funds from Congress in 2009.

“The president hasn’t raised the issue of the letter specifically, but believes he needs space to make a final decision,” the source said.

Obama is on vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.