Following meetings Wednesday with President Barack Obama, Democratic congressional leaders vowed Wednesday to support the White House's eventual pick to be the next Federal Reserve chairman. "Whoever the president chooses will be received with great respect by our caucus," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a press conference. House Democrats said that Obama strongly defended Summers during a closed-door meeting. Later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , according to Reuters, told reporters Obama "has a long list of people he's talking to. He indicated that there's not - his words - 'not a piece of paper difference in all of them,' so he's weighing all of the minuses and pluses and he's going to make a decision that he believes is right for the country and I do too." White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama's defense of Summers was only natural because the former Treasury Secretary was once part of the White House economic team. It would be a mistake to read Obama's comments as impacting the decision to pick a new Fed Chairman, Carney said. "The president has not made a decision on this matter," and is not likely to make one until the fall, Carney said.Hah! He strongly defended Summers, but has others on his list. Now that the Dems telegraphed their best punch against Summers, the full court press has begun. We have some of Summers' female subordinates, including Sheryl Sandberg of facebook and Leaning In fame, speaking highly of him and James Messina, Obama's campaign manager talking about how Summers would get approved by the Senate (see here)
“I think it is absolutely clear that Larry Summers could be confirmed by the United States Senate,” Messina said. “And all of the tough nominations [in the first term] were under my purview, so I think have a little credibility on that front.”
Messina said the president has great trust in Summers. “Larry Summers walked into the administration as the economy went into its worst slide since the Great Depression,” Messina said. “And his advice and actions were absolutely crucial to the president’s decision-making, and those actions helped lead us out of a historical recession.”
Update: According to The Hill, Obama is attacking liberals and the liberal media, naming Huffington Post, probably in part because a rather critical piece by Robert Kuttner:
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said Obama told the Democrats "not to believe everything you read in The Huffington Post," a reference to the liberal website that's been critical of Summers's record.
Now, Obama has the Dem leadership on his side no matter what. Obama usually doesn't float trial balloons. What he does is leak information to draw flak to diffuse it and also to desensitize his constituents to the inevitable. Wall Street wants Summers, the big banks that Summers consults for want him, his old pal and Obama advisor Robert Rubin wants him, and the Republicans want him. Why would anyone be surprised that Obama wants him? It's going to happen. Wait for it.