Republican Senator's 'No' Keeps Bernanke Vote a Nail-Biter

The tally against re-confirming Ben Bernanke grew by one Sunday when Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he will vote "no" to a second term for the Federal Reserve chairman.

"The Federal Reserve will benefit from a fresh start," Cornyn told "Fox News Sunday." "I'm not saying Bernanke didn't do a good job, but I think he should have seen (the recession) coming."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he is leaning against confirmation but would not give a definite answer.

"I'm very skeptical about his nomination," McCain told CBS's "Face the Nation. "Chairman Bernanke was in charge when we hit the iceberg and his policies were partly responsible for the meltdown. ... He should be held accountable."

Speaking Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said he is confident Bernanke will win confirmation but would not indicate how he will vote.

"He's going to have bipartisan support," McConnell said.

The White House has been in lobbying mode, trying to convince lawmakers that Bernanke deserves a second term at the help of the central bank. The Senate is expected to vote this week before Bernanke's four-year term ends on Jan. 31.

Big manufacturers, software companies and retailers may get a boost of confidence if the chairman's tenure continues. Many of these companies fear a defeat of Bernanke could trigger a stock market slump of unknown duration and severity -- just the kind of uncertainty the firms and the economy as a whole want to avoid.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, who appeared on "Fox News Sunday," said a new four-year term for the central bank head is needed to ensure stability domestically and abroad.

"I think now would be a particularly bad time to send a signal to the international community and to our overall financial system by playing politics in any way with this upcoming vote," Gibbs said.

But politics is a large part of the calculation on the chairman. Appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, Bernanke is widely credited with helping to prevent the recession from turning into a depression. But his support of Wall Street bailouts has angered the public as the country struggles with double-digit unemployment and soaring home foreclosures.

Those who vote for Bernanke could be cast as favoring President Obama's economic agenda just as anger is steaming toward the president's economic plan. Both Republicans and Democrats know that support for the chairman could be used as a tool in November if the economy is still slumping. Democrats have suggested that Republicans may be keeping their pro-Bernanke vote artificially low to flush more Democrats out to back Bernanke.

Others who announced their vote include Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Tim Johnson and Mary Landrieu and Republican Sens. Judd Gregg and George Voinovich, who have expressed their support for Bernanke. Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer, Byron Dorgan and Russ Feingold and Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby have said they are against Bernanke. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she is still unsure.

"We are in much better shape today because of his leadership," Durbin, D-Ill., said Sunday. He said if Bernanke gets past the 60-vote procedural vote to end debate and go to final passage, it's likely Bernanke will get 50 votes for a second term.

Fox News' Major Garrett contributed to this report.