Emanuel: Obama backs Bernanke 100%

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said today that President Obama has 100% confidence in Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Bernanke has drawn fire in recent days after Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis said he had been under pressure from Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to acquire Merill Lynch despite his misgivings about the firm’s finances.

“The president has 100 percent confidence in Ben Bernanke,” Emanuel told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt in an interview that will air this weekend.

Emanuel defended the administration’s “stress tests” for banks, arguing they were strenuous enough to provide a good picture of an institutions’ financial health. The test results were revealed to the banks today but will not be made public until May 4.

The tests would reveal a “gradation” in the shape of banks, Emanuel said. Some will be healthy, while others might need additional capital.

Regarding the possible bankruptcy of Chrysler, Emanuel said the administration was still working “in a very aggressive way” to help the company merge with Fiat, adding that the company’s future will “come to a head” on April 30th or May 1st.

Emanuel declined to offer his opinion on whether Bush officials should be prosecuted for their role in developing interrogation policy, saying he would not put “thumb on the scale” to influence the process.

Tags Acquisition Ben Bernanke Business Chairman of the Federal Reserve Council on Foreign Relations Guggenheim Fellows Illinois Macroeconomics Man Made Disaster Merger Person Career Person Communication Politics Politics of the United States Presidency of Barack Obama Quotation Rahm Emanuel Rahm Emanuel Timothy Geithner
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