President Barack Obama defended Larry Summers’ credentials during a meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told The Hill that Obama had given a “full-throated defense” of Summers during the meet at the Capitol.
Obama is rumored to be considering nominating Summers to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The rumors have prompted Democrats and liberals to openly oppose Summers, who had pushed to deregulate the banking industry during his time in the Clinton administration and made questionable comments about women. Democrats also say Summers is too close to Wall Street and lacks experience with central banking.
House Democrats who spoke with The Hill and the Financial Times said Obama felt Summers was being unfairly mistreated and had been turned into a “progressive whipping boy.”
Obama described Summers as a loyal and important adviser during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Summers had served as director of the U.S. National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. He resigned in 2010.
Though Obama defended his former adviser, he said he had not decided who to nominate as the next Fed chairman. Many Democrats have urged Obama to appoint Fed vice-chair Janet Yellen as the nation’s first female chair of the Fed. Former Fed vice-chair Don Kohn is also reportedly being considered.
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