Blinder: Fed has a good chairman

Alan Blinder, the former Clinton White House economic adviser tipped earlier this week as a possible replacement for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, said he would be interested in the job but that Bernanke should remain.

Asked by The Hill whether he'd be interested in the position Bernanke now holds, Blinder said, "Sure, but the Fed has a very good chairman."

Blinder was scheduled to speak to Senate Democrats about the economy on Thursday. The Senate voted 70-30 to confirm Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman. 

Earlier this week, when the Senate's confirmation of Bernanke was in question, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and Foreign Affairs mentioned Blinder as a leading candidate as Fed chairman.

Blinder, who also defended Bernanke's renomination in a New York Times op-ed Thursday morning, blamed the unprecedented opposition to Bernanke's nomination on the broader dissatisfaction with the economy. Thirty senators voted Thursday to reject Bernanke, the most ever for any Fed nominee.

"I think there is tremendous unhappiness with let's just call it the bank bailout," Blinder said. "It was bigger than the bank bailout. A number of people and a number of politicians are looking for someone, probably more than one person, on whom to vent their frustration. 

"The frustrations are very understandable, absolutely understandable," Blinder added. "Basically the American public got hit by a freight train, and they'd like to know who put that freight train on the track. It wasn't Ben Bernanke." 

Blinder, who also served as Fed vice chairman in the 1990s, said Bernanke's recent record in dealing with the financial crisis has been "absolutely splendid."

Blinder and Moody's economist Mark Zandi both attended a lunch with Senate Democrats on Thursday to talk about ways to create jobs. Blinder has called for a tax credit for firms who hire new workers, and proposal also backed by President Barack Obama, and senators from both parties.