WASHINGTON - The Federal Open Market Committee's decision last week to drop the federal funds rate by 25 basis points did a lot more than send the stock market to record highs.

In one fell swoop, the rate cut boosted Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's prospects for reappointment, marked the emergence of the two Clinton appointees as key players, placated political leaders, and restored the Fed's credibility in the markets, according to followers of the central bank.

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