Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bush Warns "Entire Economy Is In Danger"

Media reports are casting President Bush's televised address last night as both a warning to the nation on the severity of the financial crisis and an attempt to push Congress into passing his proposed bailout. A number of the stories remark on Bush's stark warnings about the health of the economy. Roll Call, for example, says Bush "sketched a frightening view of the economic danger," and used "unusually blunt and even dramatic language." The New York Times reports Bush told the country that "'a long and painful recession' could occur if Congress does not act quickly." Like many other media outlets this morning, the Times quotes the President saying, "Our entire economy is in danger." Bush's speech highlighted "a growing sense of urgency on the part of the administration that Congress must act to avert a far-reaching economic collapse." USA Today notes the President also said, "Without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic. ... More banks could fail, including some in your community." He also "warned that inaction could cause millions of layoffs, bank failures, business closures, lost retirement savings, more foreclosures, a further drying up of credit." McClatchy, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post run similar reports.

The speech is also seen as a response to critics who accused the President of not having played a lead role in the government's efforts to defuse the crisis. USA Today reports, for example, that Bush faced "criticism from some Democrats for being AWOL in the debate," and the Wall Street Journal says that "until now," the President had "relied largely on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- a former Goldman Sachs CEO -- and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to make the case for the plan," but "Republican support has been so soft that Democrats worried they would have to take on most of the responsibility -- and political risk -- for passing the package." And "to spread that risk, Democrats on Tuesday called on Mr. Bush to address the nation."

The Politico describes Paulson as "the captain of a crowded lifeboat" who "struggled to stay afloat in Congress Wednesday, battling the waves crashing in on his Wall Street rescue plan." With his speech, Bush was "lending a hand" and taking "back the helm long enough Wednesday night to deliver a nationally televised address," but "to the surprise of some in his own administration, Bush spent precious political capital by using the speech to try to help McCain by bringing him into what have been delicate negotiations with Congress."

McCain, Obama To Attend White House Talks Today The AP notes Bush "spoke just after inviting Democrat Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain, one of whom will inherit the mess in four months, and key congressional leaders to an extraordinary White House meeting Thursday to hammer out a compromise." In his speech, the President "explicitly endorsed several of the changes that have been demanded in recent days from the right and left. But he warned that he would draw the line at regulations he determined would hamper economic growth." Another AP story and a report in the Los Angeles Times, among other media stories, note both Obama and McCain have said they will attend the meeting.

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