As President Obama works hard to rally support among lawmakers for Larry Summers as the next Fed Chairman, he dropped a new name into the mix -- turning a 2-way race into a 3-way race overnight.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in a meeting with House Democrats, Obama floated another candidate: Donald Kohn. He's a former Fed vice chairman, and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Kohn told Bloomberg last year: "History will have judged Ben Bernanke to have been an outstanding chairman who did what he had to do under extremely difficult circumstances." The current Fed vice chair Janet Yellen remains a leading candidate as well.
Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Neil Irwin tells The Daily Ticker that he thinks the race is over, and the decision has been made: "I think Larry Summers gets the nomination. I think the confirmation is ugly though."
Either way, Irwin notes that "it's really an impossible job" because the ideal candidate for Fed Chair needs to be a great economist, regulator, politician, diplomat and communicator. "Larry Summers... he's a brilliant economist but also a very polarizing figure," says Irwin.
To that point, about one third of the Senate's Democrats and 38 of the 62 Democratic women in the House have publicly expressed support for Yellen. Several Senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have questioned whether Summers' candidacy can survive a confirmation hearing.
Still, "there really is a desire among people close to the president and perhaps the president himself to nominate [Summers]," Irwin says.
Obama is not expected to make his nomination known before the fall. Ben Bernanke's term as chairman ends January 31, 2014.
Watch the video above to see who else Irwin thinks could be on the shortlist for Fed Chair, and why they would rise to the top.
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- Larry Summers
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