The First Draft: Bernanke, budget trump vacation – for a bit

August 25, 2009

OBAMA/Two days after arriving in Martha’s Vineyard, President Barack Obama is taking a break from his vacation to make some news: he will announce that he is nominating Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Investors have given Bernanke, whose current term expires on Jan. 31, 2010, high marks and had widely expected his reappointment.

But the announcement is being made earlier than expected and comes not just during Obama’s family vacation but also on the day that the White House Office of Management and Budget and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office both release their midyear budget updates.

The reports are expected to show the government will spend a record $1.6 trillion more than it collects this year and nearly double its outstanding debt over the next 10 years.

The grim fiscal picture could provide fodder for opponents of Obama’s costly plan to overhaul the healthcare system.

So why is Obama interrupting his vacation to announce Bernanke’s renomination? Does he hope to inject a sense of continuity and stability by erasing doubt over who might lead the Fed?

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Photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed (Obama and friend Eric Whitaker wave as they golf on Martha’s Vineyard)

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