Obama renominate Ben Bernanke to lead Fed

"Ben approached a financial system on the verge of collapse with calm and wisdom, with bold action and outside-the-box thinking that has helped put the brakes on our economic free-fall," Obama said in prepared remarks obtained by the AP.

In sticking with Bernanke, Obama is looking to reassure the financial sector and foreign central banks that his administration has no plans to change course.

Any move to replace Bernanke could have been perceived as injecting politics into the Fed, especially if Obama had turned to Lawrence Summers, his top economic adviser, as Bernanke's replacement.

For Obama, there was little political downside in choosing to nominate Bernanke to a second four-year term. The move displays bipartisanship and a steady, unchanging hand on the economic tiller. Fully occupied with an attempted health care overhaul, Obama's team could little afford the distraction of changing the head of the Fed.

"The actions we have taken to stabilize our financial system, repair our credit markets, restructure (the) auto industry and help the overall economy recover have all been steps of necessity, not choice," Obama said in prepared remarks for the announcement. "They have faced plenty of critics, some of whom argued that we should stay the course or do nothing at all. But taken together, all of these steps have brought our economy back from the brink. They are steps that are working."

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