WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday that he would replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if he wins election to the White House in November.
Romney told Fox Business television that he wanted someone to lead the US central bank who is more in tune with his own economic thinking.
“I would like to select… a new person to that chairman’s position, someone who shared my economic views, someone that I thought was sympathetic to the needs of our nation,” Romney told the broadcaster in an interview.
“And I want to make sure that the Federal Reserve focuses on maintaining the monetary stability that leads to a strong dollar, and confidence that America is not going to go down the road that other nations have gone down to their peril,” he said.
Bernanke has been chairman of the Fed since February 2006, named by Republican president George W. Bush for a four-year term and approved by the US Senate.
After leading the Fed through the US financial crisis and deep 2008-2009 recession, he was renewed for a second term as chairman by Democratic President Barack Obama in February 2010, again earning easy Senate confirmation.
Obama has been supportive of the Fed maintaining its benchmark interest rate at near-zero levels to help get the economy going.
But Romney said that the Fed’s efforts, including its two rounds of QE, or quantitative easing, stimulus programs, have not produced results while leaving the economy vulnerable to a return to high inflation.
“I don’t think QE2 was terribly effective. I think a QE3, another Fed stimulus, is not going to help this economy. I think that’s the wrong way to go,” Romney said.
“I think it also seeds the kind of potential for inflation down the road that would be harmful to the value of the dollar and, I think, harmful to the stability that our nation needs.”
It was not immediately clear if Bernanke could be removed ahead of the expiration of his term if Romney wins the election and assumes the presidency in January 2013.
According to the Federal Reserve website, governors of the central bank, who serve 14-year terms, “may not be removed from office for their policy views.”
But nothing is said specifically about removing someone from the job of chairman, the head of the board of governors.
Asked whom he might name to the job, Romney said: “I haven’t considered a single person at this point, given no names any thought or deliberation. When the time comes to appoint a new Fed chairman, why, I’ll give that full analysis.”
On Wednesday one of Romney’s economic advisers, Glenn Hubbard, said Romney should stick with Bernanke.