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Growing opposition threatens Bernanke approval

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faced mounting Senate opposition for another four-year term Friday, even as the White House described President Barack Obama as confident about his confirmation.

Four Democrats say they will vote against Bernanke on the Senate floor. And at least two senators who voted for Bernanke in the Senate Banking Committee last month are weighing their support.

While no one is declaring his confirmation doomed, the emergence of opposition and the shift by some to undecided illustrate just how difficult the terrain has gotten for Obama, especially since a Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts this week.

The roster arrayed against Bernanke, 56, grew Friday, with Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin announcing their opposition.

Democrat Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced Thursday that he would oppose Bernanke on the Senate floor.

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Friday that the president has "a great deal of confidence" in the actions Bernanke already has taken and believes he's "the best person for the job."

Behind the scenes on Friday, the White House worked aggressively to keep Bernanke's nomination afloat, with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the phone throughout the day to key senators to shore up support, said two senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had intended to bring Bernanke's confirmation to a vote this week. He is now expected to call for a vote only when he is confident he has at least the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.

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