"Wall Street got drunk," Bush says at private event

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:00pm BST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush has an explanation for the housing market meltdown that has thrown the global economy into turmoil: Wall Street got drunk.

"There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk," Bush said at a private event in Houston on Friday. "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?"

Bush's comments were recorded on a cellular telephone camera and posted to the YouTube Internet site on Tuesday.

He was in Houston to raise money for Republican congressional candidate Pete Olson, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson.

"He has said before that Wall Street was dealing with very complex financial instruments and that the markets didn't fully understand the risks that those instruments posed to the system," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"It is certainly a more colorful way of saying what he said before, but he's described it that way before in terms of his observations of what happened to the market," she said.

The video shows Bush joking with a friendly crowd and musing about his life when he leaves the White House in January.

"We've got a housing issue," Bush said. "Not in Houston, evidently not in Dallas, because Laura's over there trying to buy a house today."

Bush explained that his wife no longer wished to live in rural Crawford, Texas, and preferred Dallas where the Bush presidential library will be located.

"I like Crawford, unfortunately after eight years of asking her to sacrifice, I am no longer the decision maker," he said. "I did tell her, 'Honey, we've been on government pay now for 14 years, go slow.'"

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Tabassum Zakaria; editing by David Wiessler)

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