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Bernanke honored, assailed

Associated Press / December 17, 2009

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WASHINGTON - Time’s Person of the Year one moment; object of Senate scorn the other.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke faces a vote today in the Senate Banking Committee on his nomination for another four-year term as head of the nation’s central bank.

But yesterday - the day Time magazine gave him its highest honor as Person of the Year - senators were blaming him for failing to anticipate the financial crisis and for approving massive bailouts.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent liberal from Vermont, called him a “key architect of the Bush economy.’’ Sanders has placed a “hold’’ on the nomination, meaning a super-majority of 60 votes is needed to confirm Bernanke.

Bernanke’s term ends Jan. 31. Unless Sanders relents a full Senate vote is not expected until next month. The Fed chairman is apt to have enough support to win in committee and in the full Senate.