By Benjamin Goad - 08/06/13 05:27 PM EDT
Summers’s critics have assailed his performance amid the height of the economic crisis of the late 2000s, suggesting he was too easy on the bad actors in the financial sector blamed for causing the recession.
The group Democracy for America said his relationship with Wall Street makes him “an inappropriate choice” to head the central bank.
Another progressive group, National People’s Action, urged Obama to reconsider Summers's record.
“There is perhaps no worse pick to head the Federal Reserve for working class families that Larry Summers," said George Goehl, the group’s executive director. “His work to ensure a no-strings bailout for Wall Street is alone enough to disqualify him for the post, not to mention his key role in engineering the Great Recession by fatally weakening oversight and regulations for big banks.”
Obama last week paid a visit to Capitol Hill, where he offered a full throated defense of Summers in private meetings with the House and Senate Democrats, some of whom openly opposed his selection.
Sunstein, who served for three years as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, also defended Summers’s notoriously gruff personality, which his detractors suggest would interfere with his duties as Fed chairman.
“True, he’s not exactly a charmer,” conceded Sunstein. “He’s a natural debater, and he can be tough, and he likes to start a conversation by telling you that you are dead wrong. But he is an excellent listener; he goes where the facts take him and he is willing to change his mind.”
Summers and Janet Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairwoman, are seen as the top two contenders for the Fed post, a job that will come with an unprecedented level of power thanks to new authorities provided by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.