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Second Term for US Fed Chairman

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced he plans to appoint the chairman of the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve, to a second term. The president says Fed chief Ben Bernanke has helped to prevent a deeper recession or a depression.

President Barack Obama says he is reappointing Ben Bernanke, who has led the U.S. economy through one of the worst financial crises the country has ever faced.

"Ben approached a financial system on the verge of collapse with calm and wisdom; with bold action and outside-the-box thinking that has helped put the brakes on our economic free fall," Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama made the announcement at a school on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he and his family are spending the week on vacation.

Bernanke has been praised for taking aggressive action to prevent an economic catastrophe after last year's widespread problems in the financial industry. The president said almost none of the decisions the Federal Reserve chairman has made has been easy.

"They have faced plenty of critics, some of whom argued that we should stay the course or do nothing at all," Mr. Obama said. "But taken together, this bold, persistent experimentation has brought our economy back from the brink. They are steps that are working."

Bernanke says the Federal Reserve and other economic policy makers have been challenged by unprecedented events in the past few years, but his objective has not changed.

"To restore a more stable financial and economic environment, in which opportunity can again flourish and in which Americans' hard work and creativity can receive their proper rewards," Bernanke said.

Bernanke's strategy to boost the economy includes unconventional lending programs, to unlock credit and stabilize the financial markets.

The 55-year-old Bernanke was appointed Fed chairman by Republican President George W. Bush, and took office in February, 2006.

Bernanke's reappointment will require Senate approval, and Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have praised his performance.

Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, who leads the Senate Banking Committee, generally supports giving Bernanke another four years, although the two have had disagreements and Dodd is promising a thorough reappointment hearing.