Summers Withdraws Name for Fed Chairmanship

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Former Treasury Secretary Calls Obama, Cites ‘Acrimonious’ Coming Confirmation.

Lawrence Summers pulled out of the contest to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve after weeks of public excoriation, forcing President Barack Obama to move further down the list of contenders to head the central bank.

One leading candidate is Janet Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairwoman, who has garnered substantial support among Democrats in Congress and among economists. But the public lobbying on her behalf appears to have annoyed the president, say administration insiders, and may lead him to look elsewhere.

Mr. Obama has said he interviewed Donald Kohn, a former Fed vice chairman who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Administration insiders say Timothy Geithner, the former Treasury secretary, also is a possibility, though a person close to him reaffirmed Sunday night that he doesn’t want the job. Dark-horse candidates include Stanley Fischer, an American citizen who recently stepped down as governor of the Bank of Israel, and Roger Ferguson, another former Fed vice chairman and now chief executive of TIAA-CREF, a not-for-profit financial-services company.

Mr. Summers, who was director of Mr. Obama’s National Economic Council early in his presidency, was widely believed to be the president’s first choice. But opposition from liberals and women’s groups—and, importantly, from some Senate Banking Committee Democrats—had been mounting.

For them, Mr. Summers became a symbol—a caricature, his admirers say—of all the failures of financial deregulation that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

In late July, about one-third of the 54 Senate Democrats signed a letter to Mr. Obama urging him to pick Ms. Yellen; it didn’t mention Mr. Summers, but it was viewed as a warning to the White House.

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