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Bernanke gets hammered in Republican debate

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wouldn't have a job as Fed chief if it were up to GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Both said they would not reappoint Bernanke to another term as the Fed chief if they were elected president. They made the comments during a Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. NBC and Politico hosted the debate between eight presidential hopefuls in the 2012 race: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), businessman Herman Cain, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. Gingrich lashed out first at Bernanke, in response to a question about whether he'd keep him as Federal Reserve chief, saying he'd "fire him tomorrow." Gingrich accused Bernanke of being one of the most inflationary Fed chiefs in history, although inflation hasn't been an issue under Bernanke. Gingrich also alleged that Bernanke's monetary policies deepened the countries problems. “I think he’s been the most inflationary, dangerous and power-centered chairman of the Fed in the history of the Fed,” he said. Gingrich said Bernanke's policies have "deepened the depression, lengthened the problems, increased the cost of gasoline and been a disaster.” Romney, with more tempered comments, also said he'd be "looking for someone new" to lead the Federal Reserve and criticized the Fed chairman for his second wave of quantitative easing saying QEII did nothing to help the economy. QE II ended in June. During a speech in late August in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke didn't address the possibility of another round of quantitative easing, but said the Fed can only do so much and called on politicians to step up to the plate to improve the economy. Perry was the first Republican candidate to make what some thought was an over-the-top comment about Bernanke when he told a crowd in Iowa that Bernanke would face an “ugly” greeting in Texas if he pushed for additional monetary stimulus, saying he considered such monetary policies as “almost treasonous.” He was not asked about Bernanke during the debate. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.

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