ABC News' Julia Hoppock reports: President Bush today said he was concerned about the state of the financial markets and announced that he cancelled his scheduled trips to Alabama and Florida in order to focus on the economy. Bush was slated to attend two GOP fundraisers, but has sent Vice President Cheney in his place.
"The American people are concerned about the situation in our financial markets and our economy, and I share their concerns," he said in his first public statement on the economic crisis since the government bailed out insurer American International Group.
In his two-minute speech, Bush did not specifically outline what further actions would be taken to ease one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression, but said that he had met with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and would meet with him again this afternoon. The president tried to reassure the American public that the federal government would be actively engaged in working to stabilize and strengthen the struggling market.
"As our recent actions demonstrate, my administration is focused on meeting these challenges. The American people can be sure that we will continue to act to strengthen these financial markets and improve investor confidence."
Bush took some heat this week for not addressing the economic crisis more directly; his last public remarks were made Monday. In a press conference yesterday, White House spokesman Dana Perino said that Bush was apprehensive about holding a news conference, in general, because he didn't want to distract from the presidential campaign.
"I grant you, that it's been a while," Perino told reporters. "And I understand that people want to hear from the president during this time."