By Peter Schroeder - 09/18/13 08:14 PM EDT
The former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and economic adviser to President Obama said his confirmation could prove contentious, and could damage the Fed and the overall economy.
Several Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee indicated they would oppose a Summers nomination, citing his previous support for financial deregulation, as well as his reputation for being difficult to work with.
Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Fed under Bernanke, is now widely seen as the leading candidate, and enjoys public backing from several congressional Democrats.
Bernanke himself has not officially said he will not return for a third term leading the Fed after his second term expires at the beginning of 2014, although both he and Obama have made comments suggesting that will be the most likely outcome. On Wednesday, Bernanke declined to make it official.
"I prefer not to talk about my plans at this point," he said in response to a question. "I hope to have more information for you at some reasonably soon date."