Bunning: Bernanke earned an 'F-minus' as Fed chairman

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) on Thursday signaled he would again vote against Ben Bernanke to head up the Federal Reserve.

During an interview with CNBC this morning, Bunning -- who also voted against Bernanke's appointment in 2006 -- said the sitting Fed chairman has so far earned himself a dismal grade of  "F-."

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He also blamed Bernanke for botching the economic recovery, chided him for misleading both voters and lawmakers about the extent of last year's bank bailout and suggested the chairman was orchestrating a government takeover of the private sector reminiscent of "France of 25 years ago."

"There's no curve in being the head of the Fed Reserve; you either do the job or you don't do the job, and when you don't do the job, you fail," said Bunning, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, later noting a handful of senators agreed with his perspective.

One such supporter, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), announced on Wednesday he would place a hold on Bernanke's confirmation because, "The American people want a new direction on Wall Street and at the Fed."

"They do not want as chairman someone who has been part of the problem and who has been responsible for many of the enormous difficulties that we are now experiencing,” Sanders said in a statement. “It’s time for a change at the Fed.”

Equally critical of Bernanke have been Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). But even if those lawmakers vote against the chairman, it is likely Bernanke will still win confirmation and retain his job at the Fed.

UPDATE: Bunning railed on Bernanke once the hearing commenced, charging his failures at the Fed's helm were rivaled only in intensity and frequency by his predecessor, Alan Greenspan.

"You promised Congress more transparency when you came to the job. You promised more transparency when you came begging for the TARP," the senator said, noting Bernanke had provided some information to lawmakers. "Those efforts are inadequate, and you still refuse to provide details on the Fed's bailout last year on all the toxic waste you bought."

Bunning later added Bernanke's mistakes "were reason enough to send [him] back to Princeton."

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