Bernanke says no talks with Obama about a third term at the Fed

Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:44pm EST

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke smiles during a news conference in Washington December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke smiles during a news conference in Washington December 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday he has not discussed with President Barack Obama the possibility of serving a third term at the helm of the U.S. central bank, leaving his future up in the air.

"No, I haven't had any conversations," said Bernanke, whose current term ends in January, 2014. He spoke to reporters after the Fed announced more bond-buying to boost the weak U.S. economic recovery.

"I think the president has got quite a few issues he needs to be thinking about, from the fiscal cliff to many other appointments and so on," he said.

Bernanke was first appointed to head the central bank by President George W. Bush, a Republican, and took the helm in 2006. He was reappointed by Obama to a second four-year term that began in February 2010.

Few outsiders expect Bernanke to seek a third term, given how tumultuous the last few years have been steering the United States through the financial crisis and Great Recession.

Bernanke himself has not spoken publicly about it, and some wonder whether he will want to see the Fed's unprecedented steps through to their end when policies will need tightening and trillions of dollars worth of purchased bonds will need to be sold off.

"From my own perspective, ... I'm very much engaged in these difficult issues that we're discussing today and I have not been spending time thinking about my own future," Bernanke said on Wednesday. "So I don't really have anything to add there."

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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