Washington (CNN) – As the White House tries to rally wavering support for the re-confirmation of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, two senators – one Democrat and one Republican – announced Sunday that they will support the nation’s top banker despite reservations about him.
President Obama has nominated Bernanke for a second term as the head of the nation’s central bank but Bernanke’s confirmation has become ensnared in concerns about his role in the financial crisis that began in late 2008 and nearly pushed the economy into freefall. Bernanke’s nomination has also been tripped up in recent days by growing populist accusations that the Obama administration bailed out Wall Street and the automotive industry while doing too little to create jobs as the official unemployment rate remains stubbornly at 10 percent.
New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that he’s had concerns about Bernanke regarding “consumer protection, of being ahead of the curve on the economy and particularly on mortgage foreclosures.”
“I think [Bernanke’s] learned from those lessons,” Menedez told also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “I give him credit for making some significant moves to – along with President Obama – from stopping us from going into a deep depression. So, yes, I will support Chairman Bernanke and I believe that his confirmation will be assured.”
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also told King that he will support Bernanke, though Hatch’s pledge of support was far from a ringing endorsement of the embattled Fed chief.
“In all honesty, there are some things I don’t agree with that have been done but I think [Bernanke] basically has all of the ability to do it,” Hatch said Sunday on State of the Union. “I’d be terrified of having him replaced by this administration – you never know what you’re going to get.
“This man knows what he’s doing. Yes. Can he improve? You bet your life but I’m going vote for him,” Hatch said.
Earlier on State of the Union, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said the president believes Bernanke will be confirmed for a second term leading the Federal Reserve.
Axelrod said Obama has been speaking with Senate leaders and the “readings” he's getting in his conversations is that Chairman Bernanke will be confirmed.