“The actions we have taken to stabilize our financial system, repair our credit markets, restructure auto industry, and help the overall economy recover have all been steps of necessity, not choice,” the president said in a news conference with Bernanke at his side. “They have faced plenty of critics, some of whom argued that we should stay the course or do nothing at all. But taken together, all of these steps have brought our economy back from the brink. They are steps that are working.”
That suggests pragmatism, not politics, drove the president's decision, even though it was generally well received on Wall Street.
“Why take the chance of someone else?” said former White House economist and Fed governor Larry Lindsey. “The natural thing to do is reappoint him.”
In other words, the Fed’s role in crisis management was so extensive and intrinsic that changing leadership would be risky, if not foolish.
“Having a new chairman come in at this late date would put the Fed engineered solution to both the recovery and the exit strategy at risk,” said Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi economist Chris Rupkey, reflecting a common view on Wall Street.
"I suspect the administration somewhere deep down inside is very, very nervous about the recovery and its pace and wants to do everything to ensure stability and Bernanke at this moment represents stability," added Bill Frenzel, a ten-term Republican congressman now with the Brookings Institution.
At the same time, the president's statement on Bernanke placed as much emphasis on the team and the administration’s overall economic accomplishments and objectives as it did on the man’s individual attributes and efforts.
Political pundits are quick to point out that only president’s can take the credit of the team.
The president’s reference to criticism is also telling, because for all of the kudos Bernanke has earned for his handling of the financial crisis, there has also been plenty of second-guessing from supporters and critics alike. And that is almost certain to continue on the road to recovery.