09/22/2013 01:23 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2013

Bill Clinton: Image Of Larry Summers As 'A One-Note Johnny' Is 'Ludicrous'

Former President Bill Clinton stood up for former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who recently withdrew his name from consideration for Federal Reserve chair.

"I think there's this kind of cartoon image that's been developed that somehow Larry Summers was a one-note Johnny, just trying to let big financial titans ravage the land. And it's just ludicrous," Clinton said during an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that aired on Sunday.

Clinton called Summers "a friend" and said criticism of Summers is "not accurate."

"I mean, he played a central role in helping President Obama use the power of the government to try to bring the economy back when we were on the brink of just sliding into depression when he took office," Clinton said. "When he worked for me, he played a central role in implementing much more balanced policies than had been let on, where we had more private sector growth, but we also had good, sensible regulatory oversight."

While defending Summers, Clinton also praised for Janet Yellen, who is now the front-runner to take over the top job at the U.S. central bank, according to a White House official. The former president said he "was actually thrilled" when he heard Obama was considering both Summers and Yellen for the job.

"I also consider Janet Yellen a friend and I think she has shown good judgment; she's done a fabulous job at the Fed. She was really good at the Council of Economic Advisers when she worked in our administration," Clinton said. "I think she would be great, if the president chooses to appoint her."

"She's been right on everything that's happened in this whole aftermath of the financial crisis. So if she gets the job, I'll be thrilled, too," Clinton said.

Click here for more from CNN's interview with Clinton.



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