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Bernanke defends bailouts – and himself

The Fed chairman, who is all over the TV news shows this week, may be angling for reappointment in January.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at a House Financial services committee hearing on Capitol Hill July 24. Mr. Bernanke appeared on a town hall for the PBS's NewsHour Monday to defend the Fed's actions in the financial crisis last fall.

Yuri Gripas/Reuters

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In March, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes. On Monday, he did a town hall with Jim Lehrer of the NewsHour. What’s next? Oprah? Hardball with Chris Matthews? Three minutes with the Today Show’s Al Roker?

Maybe it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did all of them. Mr. Bernanke’s term as chairman of the Federal Reserve expires at the end of January – and it may not be too soon to remind President Obama about who kept the economy out of another Great Depression. And some economists say such appearances might help the Fed chairman’s reputation after a particularly bruising session last week with Congress.

“He’s running to keep his office and defend the Fed,” says Robert Brusca of Fact & Opinion Economics in New York. “The President is wondering who to appoint and Congress is looking for a scapegoat.”

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