(CBS/AP)-- President Barack Obama says he has accepted Lawrence Summers' decision to withdraw from consideration for the role of Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Obama says Summers was a critical member of his economic team and says he is grateful for his service on behalf of the country.
In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Obama called Summers "a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."
"It was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today," the president said.
Summers was the leading candidate to replace current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke but faced opposition from some Democrats.
But Summers faced opposition from some Democrats, including members of the Senate Banking Committee. Summers alluded to the opposition to his candidacy in a letter he sent to Obama Sunday to formally withdraw from consideration.
"I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the administration or ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing economic recovery," he wrote.
Summers served as Treasury secretary under Clinton but forged a bond with Obama as his National Economic Council director when he oversaw the administration's response to the economic and financial crisis and to the bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
Meanwhile this past week, more than 350 economists have a signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to be the Fed's next chairman. The letter is designed to draw attention back to Yellen amid signs that Obama is leaning toward nominating his former economic adviser Larry Summers.
The letter, whose signers include economists with past ties to Obama, credits Yellen for prescience in warning in 2005 about an impending real estate meltdown, for her consensus style of leadership and for her commitment to job growth.
Yellen became a member of the Fed's board of governors in 1994. Clinton selected her to chair his Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999. She was president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, one of 12 Federal Reserve districts. In 2010, Obama selected her as vice chair of the Fed's board of governors, a position she has held since.
Obama had been expected to announce his nomination as early as this month. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's term ends Jan. 31, 2014.