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Obama Nominates Janet Yellen to Lead Federal Reserve

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Wednesday nominated Janet Yellen to serve as the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve, saying she is “exceptionally well-qualified for this role.”

“She is a proven leader, and she's tough, not just because she's from Brooklyn,” the president said jokingly at a White House ceremony.

Calling her “one of the nation's foremost economists and policymakers,” Obama praised Yellen’s experience and good judgment.

Yellen, who has over a decade of leadership experience at the Federal Reserve, is often hailed for her predictive record and credited as being one of the first voices at the Fed to sound the alarm about the looming recession in 2007.

“She doesn't have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work, not just in theory but also in the real world. And she calls it like she sees it,” Obama said. “She is held in high esteem by colleagues across the country and around the world who look to the United States…and the Fed for leadership.”

Yellen, who has served as vice chair for the past three years, is largely expected to continue the policies of current chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term expires at the end of January. “The past six years have been tumultuous for the economy and challenging for many Americans. While I think we all agree, Mr. President, that more needs to be done to strengthen the recovery, particularly for those hardest hit by the Great Recession, we have made progress. The economy is stronger and the financial system sounder,” she said.  

“While we have made progress, we have farther to go. The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people. And too many Americans still can't find a job and worry how they'll pay their bills and provide for their families. The Federal Reserve can help if it does its job effectively,” she added.

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