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WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen pursued a simple strategy Tuesday for handling a battery of lawmakers who came armed with skepticism about the Federal Reserve:
Politely stand your ground. Be consistent. Signal continuity at the top.
In her first public words since becoming Fed chair this month, Yellen struck a note of unity with her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, who stepped down last month. She embraced Bernanke’s dual outlook on the economy: It’s improving enough to withstand a slight pullback in the Fed’s stimulus yet still needs the help of low interest rates.
When her questioners turned aggressive, Yellen stoutly defended the Fed’s approach to the 2008 financial crisis and the recession. She rebuffed suggestions that its stimulus efforts were ill-conceived or that stricter financial rules were squelching growth.