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The Lucky Break That Could Land Larry Summers at the Fed

Larry Summers attends a meeting with members of the President's Export Council on Dec. 9, 2010
Larry Summers attends a meeting with members of the President's Export Council on Dec. 9, 2010Photograph by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

In a recent column, Bloomberg View’s Al Hunt posited that Larry Summers’s fate—should President Obama nominate him to succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanake—could hinge on his former Harvard colleague (and Massachusetts senator) Elizabeth Warren. Warren, like many Democrats, is no big fan. Along with 16 other Democratic senators, she signed a letter urging the president to nominate Janet Yellen instead. If he doesn’t, Hunt thinks Warren will ultimately support his nomination and that her influence could be decisive.

I’m not convinced that Warren’s support for Summers is a sure thing. She had no qualms about voting against Obama’s choice for U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, who, like Summers, is a protégé of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and thus part of a crowd that Warren and many other liberals view with asperity.