— Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term received another body blow on Friday when two key Democrats said they would be opposed to letting him continue to steer the economy through the financial crisis.
The growing chorus of opposition to Bernanke, 56, among Democrats prompted the White House to restate its support of the chairman, who began his term under Republican President George W. Bush. It ends on Jan. 31.
A date for a Senate vote on his renomination has not been set.
Senator Barbara Boxer of California released a statement Friday that said she thought it was time for a change at the helm of the nation's central bank.
"I have a lot of respect for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. When the financial crisis hit in late 2008, he took some important steps to prevent what many economists believe could have been an even greater economic catastrophe," Boxer's statement said.
"However, it is time for a change — it is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed," she added.
Boxer laid some of the blame for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression at Bernanke's feet, saying that he was instrumental in some of the policies that led to the recession.
"Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past," Boxer said.
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin also said he would vote against Bernanke. The vote could come as soon as next week.
Feingold and Boxer join Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who on Thursday said he was not prepared yet to vote for Bernanke unless the Fed released information on loans it made to commercial banks in 2008, when the subprime mortgage crisis was in full bloom.
The White House said Friday it believed Bernanke will win another term despite senators' hesitation over his willingness to discuss what steps the central bank will take to add much-needed jobs.
Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters as they were traveling with Obama to Ohio that the White House has "a great deal of confidence" in the steps Bernanke has already taken and he is "the best person for the job."
Burton also said the White House still is working to get Bernanke confirmed and there's no backup plan.