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Obama heralds Yellen as a 'proven leader'

President Obama nominated Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Wednesday.  

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Heralding her as a "proven leader" and "tough," Obama said Yellen has "a keen understanding of how markets and economies work."

"She's committed to increasing employment, and she understands the human costs when Americans can't find a job," the president said during a ceremony at the White House.

The president noted that "central bankers all across the world" looked to the Fed chief for "leadership and guidance," emphasizing the significance of the role.

Yellen, who would become the first female to lead the central bank, said that she believes the Fed "can and must safeguard the financial system."

"More needs to be done to strengthen the recovery, particularly for those hardest hit by the great recession," Yellen said.

The president also urged the Senate to confirm Yellen "without delay," a nod to what might be a tough confirmation battle. Liberals in the upper chamber had openly lobbied for her nomination while some Republicans expressed concern her monetary policy would not do enough to address inflation growth.

“I voted against Vice Chairman Yellen’s original nomination to the Fed in 2010 because of her dovish views on monetary policy,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement. “We will closely examine her record since that time, but I am not aware of anything that demonstrates her views have changed.”

Yellen, if confirmed, would be tasked with overseeing the tapering off of bond purchases by the central bank implemented under current Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The president heralded Bernanke as having "displayed tremendous courage and creativity" in his job, crediting him with averting a depression in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

"I am personally very grateful to you for being such a strong partner," Obama told Bernanke, whom he credited as a "voice of wisdom and [a] steady hand."

He also thanked Bernanke for efforts to make the role of the Federal Reserve in the financial system more clear, saying he "led a new era of Fedspeak."