Obama Nominates Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to Second Term

President Obama took a break from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard to announce he would nominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve and credited him with guiding the economy through the worst recession since the 1930s.

Video of President Obama appointing Fed Chair Ben Bernanke to a second term.
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"As an expert on the causes of the Great Depression, I'm sure Ben never imagined that he would be part of a team responsible for preventing another," the president said. "But because of his background, his temperament, his courage, and his creativity, that's exactly what he has helped to achieve."

Bernanke's four-year term is not up for another five months, but a White House official told ABC News they made the announcement today, because there has been a lot of speculation about Bernanke's future and the president wanted to put it to rest.

Obama praised Bernanke for the job he has done in guiding monetary policy through the economic crisis.

"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," he said.

"We will continue to maintain a strong and independent Federal Reserve," the president added. Bernanke echoed that sentiment and credited Obama for "his unwavering support for a strong and independent Federal Reserve."

The Fed, Bernanke said, has been "challenged by the unprecedented events of the past few years."

"We have been bold or deliberate as circumstances demanded," the Fed chair said, "but our objective remains constant: to restore a more stable economic and financial environment in which opportunity can again flourish, and in which Americans' hard work and creativity can receive their proper rewards."

Obama also referenced his push for health care reform, the debate over which has been a drag on the administration in recent weeks, tying it to the nation's long-term economic stability.

"We will also keep working towards the reform of a health insurance system whose costs and discriminatory practices are bankrupting our families, our businesses, and our government," Obama said.

Much like the decisions we've made so far, the steps we take to build this new foundation will not be easy. Change never is," Obama said. "As Ben and I both know, it comes with debate and disagreement and resistance from those who prefer the status quo. And that's OK, because that's how democracy is supposed to work."

Bernanke Likely to Get Congressional Support

Bernanke's re-appointment will still need Congressional approval, and while the Fed Chairman has had his share of controversy, it is expected to go through because he has earned the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said reappointing the Fed Chairman to a second term is the right choice.

"While I have had serious differences with the Federal Reserve over the past few years, I think reappointing Chairman Bernanke is probably the right choice," Dodd said in a statement. "Chairman Bernanke was too slow to act during the early stages of the foreclosure crisis, but he ultimately demonstrated effective leadership and his reappointment sends the right signal to the markets."

Economists are also praising Bernanke's reappointment, as a sign that the administration supports continued independence in the country's central bank.

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