To me #5 on your list is the most important. Without being political, the politics of this week are certain to matter.
If I were them, I certainly would have evaded the question entirely. There is no reason to commit to any course of action when you have two presidential candidates with completely different fiscal policy positions with regard to the Fed. You could say "steady as she goes" and "more of the same" if the current administration is re-elected.
On the other hand, you should expect a new Fed chief and new Fed course should the incumbent lose and Romney win.
QE3 is slated to continue until December 31st, and is 'tentative' beyond that date. It could continue or it may end. The only certitude is that it WILL end if Obama loses, but not right away, as the swearing-in ceremony is late January. This means under this scenario Q4 is still "all QE" and Q1 is "some QE".
If, on the other hand, Obama wins, you will have Q4 as "all QE" (the same) and Q1 as either "some QE" or "continuing QE".
I know many of you might hate politics but love investing. It is time to recognize that those two things have intersected here. You cannot analyze agency REITs without analyzing politics... at least... just this once ;)
Hate to say it, Warlord, but I think everything in your post is factually inaccurate.
Start with replacing Bernacke .... His term lasts until 2014, and the Prez [Romney or Obama] does not have the power to fire him. Romney's assertion that he will fire Ben is just more lies from the biggest liar in Presidential history. So, don't count on a change one way or the other.
QE3 is not slated to expire on 12-31-2012; it is going to continue indefinitely. It is Operation Twist that is slated to expire at the end of the year, but that Operation does not add liquidity to the economy; it just attempts to flatten the yield curve.
Some people believe that the Fed is in the President's pocket, but I don't. The Fed is supposed to be independent, and I believe Ben is. Regardless of the Prez, Ben will continue to do what he is doing. So, the idea of a fiscal policy with regard to the Fed draws a blank stare from me.
I think politics is important with regard to the Fed, but mostly from a perception point-of-view [like yours], and not because there will be much difference.
I suppose anything 'could be,' but there are some procedural things that can be done. With a supporting congress you can absolutely cause an unelected bureaucracy to toe the line. It's happening now with various agencies via the Obama administration. Pressure matters.
Add to it, this is an agent of the people created by the congress. Obama didn't pass obamacare by the technical definition, he only signed it into law. In much this same way, presidential leadership can invoke change within an agency very quickly.
A few google searches will reveal some of the technical details of the ideas in this area.