Ben Brings Bad News For Barack

Ben Bernanke offers a soundbite for Republicans.

The Federal Reserve is prepared to take further steps to help an economy that is "close to faltering," Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday in his bleakest assessment yet of the fragile U.S. recovery.

Fresh clarity on the state of the economy will come on Friday, when the Labor Department releases monthly employment figures. Economists in a Reuters poll forecast a paltry gain of 60,000 jobs for September, and Bernanke in his testimony offered little hope for much improvement.