U.S. President Barack Obama said he has narrowed down his choice for the next Federal Reserve chairman "to some extraordinarily qualified candidates" and an announcement can be expected in the next several months.
"What I'm looking for is somebody who understands the Fed has a dual mandate...that it is very important to keep inflation in check, to keep our dollar sound, and to ensure stability in the markets," Obama said in an interview with the New York Times on July 24, according to a transcript published Sunday on the newspaper's Website.
Declining to tell the names on the short list, Obama said an announcement will be made over the next several months.
Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury Secretary, and Janet Yellen, currently the central bank's vice chairwoman, are now widely considered as the front-runners for the Fed chair.
In a separate interview aired Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Summers and Yellen are "both extraordinarily talented people" and that he has "great admiration for both of them," while declining to comment on whether Obama may nominate either of them to the helm of the Fed.
"We will keep those discussions to the privacy of the Oval Office," Lew said on CNN's "State of the Union."
A group of Senate Democrats sent a letter last Thursday to Obama, urging him to nominate Yellen who they called "the best person" to replace the Fed's current chief, Ben Bernanke, whose second four- year term as chairman ends in January.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who signed the letter to endorse Yellen, said on Sunday the selection of a woman for the post would be a "positive" for the Obama administration.
Obama will need the support of most Senate Democrats to confirm whomever he ultimately nominates to lead the Fed.
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