Truth about Wall Street briefly escapes president's lips

Section:

Bush Says Wall Street 'Got Drunk'

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner
Financial Times, London
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ceb6551a-584c-11dd-b02f-000077b07658.html?ncli...

President George W. Bush said Wall Street had "got drunk" and was experiencing a hangover at a recent closed-door fundraiser in Houston in which he also made light of the US housing crisis.

In a video recording that emerged on Tuesday, Mr Bush questioned how long Wall Street banks would remain sober and "not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."

The recording, obtained by an ABC outlet in Houston and filmed even after the president apparently asked for cameras to be turned off, represents the first time Mr Bush has fallen victim to a "YouTube moment."

Politicians on the campaign trail have been forced to watch their every word since the 2006 congressional elections, when a video showing George Allen, the former Virginia senator, using a racial slur became a YouTube phenomenon, ending the Republican's Senate career and his presidential ambitions.

But Mr Bush has rarely been caught on video making such frank remarks before a friendly audience about a politically sensitive topic, proving that even the carefully guarded White House is susceptible to being caught off guard in the new era of the endless internet campaign.

When asked at a press conference last week whether the US banking system was "in trouble," Mr Bush said: "I think the system basically is sound. I truly do. And I understand there's a lot of nervousness ... but the economy’s growing."

In the video obtained by ABC, Mr Bush had a tougher view of Wall Street.

"There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk -- that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras -- it got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."

Mr Bush then shifts attention to the housing crisis, pointing out to a laughing audience that the cities of Houston and Dallas had not been hit by the downturn in the housing market.

"And then we got a housing issue ... not in Houston, and evidently not in Dallas, because Laura's over there trying to buy a house. I like Crawford [where Mr Bush owns a ranch] but unfortunately after eight years of sacrifice I am apparently no longer the decision maker."

The White House did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. According to the Houston Chronicle, the remarks were recorded at a fundraiser for Republican Pete Olson last week.

* * *

For the video cited above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgEuuypvzpY

* * *

Join GATA here:

Hard Assets Investment Conference
Tuesday-Wednesday, September 9-10, 2008
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
http://www.iiconf.com/

* * *

Help Keep GATA Going

GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at http://www.gata.org/.

GATA is grateful for financial contributions, which are federally tax-deductible in the United States.