Obama’s unforced Fed error

Dec 28, 2011

Obama undermines his strongest attack on Mitt Romney.

President Obama yesterday announced plans to nominate Jerome Powell to the Federal Reserve's board of governors. Somewhere in Iowa, Mitt Romney was cheering.

Powell served as undersecretary of the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush, but after that spent eight years as a partner with private equity firm The Carlyle Group.

That’s right: Obama, who already is using private equity as a cudgel to bash Romney, has voluntarily affirmed that someone with a similar background is best-equipped to help oversee the nation’s monetary policy. It's like intentionally dealing your poker rival an extra ace.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that Powell is a poor choice on the monetary merits. And his nomination gives Obama some bi-partisan bonafides, since Powell served in a Republican administration and actually donated $1,000 to Romney's campaign back in June. But it's bad politics, diluting what is expected to be one of Obama's key campaign attacks against Romney. Maybe a smart second-term move, but not when you've still got one more election to go.

Sign up for my daily email newsletter on deals and deal-makers: GetTermSheet.com

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions