WASHINGTON — More than 300 economists have signed an open letter to President Barack Obama urging him to nominate Janet Yellen to be the next head of the Federal Reserve, citing her "consistently good judgment" and her commitment to reducing unemployment.
"In our opinion, she is the best possible leader for the Federal Reserve Board at this critical time in our nation's history," the letter said.
The letter comes as supporters of Yellen, the Fed's vice chair, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers are locked in an unprecedented public campaign to influence Obama's decision on who will replace Ben Bernanke.
Bernanke's second four-year term expires in January. Obama has said he would nominate a replacement this fall.
Although Yellen has been a staunch Bernanke ally and the Fed's No. 2 official, she has been viewed recently as the underdog because of Summers' ties to the White House.
The letter said Yellen has the ability to work "through cooperation and consensus" — a thinly veiled swipe at Summers, who has a reputation for being domineering and difficult to work with.