Lawrence Summers withdraws from consideration to replace Bernanke

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WASHINGTON (CBS)–President Barack Obama says he has accepted Lawrence Summers’ decision to withdraw from consideration for the role of Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Obama says Summers was a critical member of his economic team and says he is grateful for his service on behalf of the country.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Obama praised Summers for his actions “as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

“It was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today,” the president said.

Summers was the leading candidate to replace current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke but faced opposition from some Democrats, including members of the Senate Banking Committee. Summers alluded to the opposition to his candidacy in a letter he sent to Obama Sunday to formally withdraw from consideration.

“I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the administration or ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery,” he wrote.

Summers served as Treasury secretary under Clinton but forged a bond with Obama as his National Economic Council director when he oversaw the administration’s response to the economic and financial crisis and to the bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

Meanwhile this past week, more than 350 economists have a signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to be the Fed’s next chairman. The letter was designed to draw attention back to Yellen amid signs that Obama had been leaning toward nominating Summers.

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