- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2008

After remaining conspicuously behind the scenes during the recent turmoil that has rocked the financial markets around the world, President Bush delivered a statement from the White House Thursday morning assuring the nation and the world that he has been “closely monitoring the situation and consulting with my economic advisers.”

After recounting the recent historic steps taken by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury, including the government takeover of mortgage-financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the prevention of the disorderly collapse of American International Group, Inc. (the nation’s largest insurance company), and the “substantive steps” taken by the Fed just last night to “provide liquidity to the U.S. financial system,” Mr. Bush said, “My administration is focused on meeting these challenges.”

The latest round of turmoil accelerated Monday after Lehman Brothers, the nation’s fourth-largest investment bank, filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch, the third-largest investment bank, sold itself to Bank of America.

During the first three days of this week, the U.S. stock market lost $1.1 trillion. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now shed 25 percent of its value since it peaked in October at 14,615. The Dow closed yesterday at 10,610 after dropping 450 points. Meanwhile, gold shot up $70.10 per ounce yesterday, its biggest jump in nine years.

The president, who canceled two fundraising trips to Florida and Alabama scheduled for today, said he met with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Jr., earlier today and would meet with him again.

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