Yellen said to top Obama’s Fed list post-Summers withdrawal

Yellen’s Chances

Fifty-six of 65 economists in Bloomberg survey said Yellen was likely to be Obama’s choice. The survey was taken yesterday and today. A Sept. 6 poll showed that 49% of economists expected Summers to be Obama’s pick, compared with 38% for Yellen.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that Obama’s timetable for announcing a choice had not changed from his earlier statement that he’d do it “in the fall.”

“We are still in the summer,” Carney told reporters at a daily briefing. The first day of autumn is next week, Sept. 22.

The selection process may extend into next week or beyond, according to one of the people familiar with White House discussions.

Obama plans to be in New York Sept. 23 and 24 for the United Nations General Assembly meeting. He’s scheduled to leave for a six-day trip to Asia beginning Oct. 6. In between the administration will negotiate with congressional Republicans on a spending bill that would avoid a federal government shutdown at the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Other Possibilities

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner isn’t interested in the Fed job, according to several people familiar with the process. Obama, in meetings with congressional Democrats in July, named Yellen and former Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn as candidates, along with Summers, for the position.

There are signs that Kohn isn’t under serious consideration. While Carney told reporters today that Obama hasn’t yet made a decision, he mentioned only Summers and Yellen when asked how Obama was handling the decision process.

“The president will have an announcement when he’s ready to make one,” Carney said. He declined to get into more specifics “beyond what the president himself said when he talked about both Larry Summers and Janet Yellen.”

Kohn remains listed on an agenda of speakers at an October event for Citigroup’s Citi Research Global Issues seminar in Washington, which may indicate that he isn’t concerned about what would be a potential conflict by speaking at a banking event if he were being considered for the banks’ top regulator.

Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a Citigroup spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether Kohn was still scheduled to speak at the event.

Inner Circle

The president’s inner circle was split over whether Obama should expend political capital on a Summers confirmation fight. Unlike the drama playing out in public, it wasn’t a split along gender lines, according to the people, who asked not to be identified to talk about internal deliberations.

The divide came down to those who figured that the battle would be too costly, including White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, the people said.

While no significant opposition has emerged against Yellen, “our sense is that the president dislikes the notion that he is being forced into picking any nominee, including Yellen,” Isaac Boltansky, an analyst with Compass Point Research & Trading LLC in Washington, said in a client note.

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