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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 31st, 2013
07:09 PM ET

Analysis: Battle over Larry Summers

In two days, Congress will be cranking up the Alice Cooper classic "School's Out for Summer," and sliding down the banisters of the Capitol steps, giggling and shoving one another as they skip off joyfully for five weeks of well-earned vacation time.

Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.

President Barack Obama swung by Congress Wednesday to wish his Democratic colleagues well, and to hold closed door meetings over the laundry list of stuff they have barely even begun to address – immigration reform, gun safety, and a plan for the economy among them.

But according to what some Democrats in the room told CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, the president's visit did not exactly go smoothly – though of course the White House disputes that.

House Democrats who participated in a private meeting say there was push back from one congressman, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, over the possibility of economist Larry Summers becoming the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.

"The tension is between liberals who blame Larry Summers for some of the deregulation of the economy under Bill Clinton, who say he wasn't aggressive enough in pushing stimulus early in ... the first term of Obama," said Olivier Knox, of Yahoo! News.

There is also a push to nominate the first female chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen.

"There's no question that Janet Yellen is very competent," said CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. "She's been right on all the decisions on the Fed for the last 20 years."

"People have a strong sense of where Yellen stands on quantitative easing, on the whole policy," said New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, adding that Yellen essentially stands with the current Fed chair Bernanke.

"With Summers it's a little more ambiguous, and he's made comments at various points about, sort of, expressing some doubts about the Fed's role in goosing the economy," said Douthat, adding that it is unclear "what the specific appeal of Summers is to Obama."

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