January 26, 2010 / 12:12 AM / 10 years ago

Obama: Bernanke the "best person for the job"

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke looks up during his meeting with Senator Dick Durbin to discuss Federal Reserve policy and Bernanke's upcoming confirmation vote on Capitol Hill, January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has his strongest support and is doing a good job.

His comments came as some senators are balking at approving Bernanke for a second term. A Reuters poll showed 38 senators were either committed to approving the nomination or leaning that way, while 17 were outright opposed or inclined that way.

“He has my strongest support. I think he’s done a good job,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News.

“What we need is somebody at the Federal Reserve who can make sure that the progress that we’ve made in stabilizing the economy continues, and I think Bernanke’s the best person for that job,” he said.

Obama said he will focus on job creation and economic growth in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

He said he opposed raising taxes while the economy was struggling. “I can guarantee that the worst thing we could do is raise taxes when the economy is this weak,” Obama said.

The president’s signature domestic issue, healthcare reform, was dealt a setback last week with the election of Republican Scott Brown to the Massachusetts Senate seat long-held by the late Edward Kennedy, a Democrat.

Obama said he remained determined to tackle major issues despite any political fallout.

“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” he told ABC’s “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer.

Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Ross Colvin; editing by Anthony Boadle

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