WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says Lawrence Summers, who was considered the leading candidate to replace current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, has withdrawn his name from consideration.

In a statement, President Barack Obama praises Summers but says he has accepted his decision.

As director of the National Economic Council, Summers oversaw the administration's response to the economic and financial crisis early in Obama's first term.

Summers, a former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, faced opposition from some Democrats, including members of the Senate Banking Committee, and he alluded to it in a letter he sent to Obama on Sunday to formally withdraw from consideration.

Summers' decision could make current Fed vice chairwoman Janet Yellen the leading candidate to replace Bernanke. Yellen, who became a member of the Fed's board of governors in 1994, would be the first woman to run the Fed.

Obama is expected to announce his nomination as early as this month. Bernanke's term ends Jan. 31, 2014.

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