WASHINGTON – President Bush, in an unguarded moment, said Wall Street "got drunk and now it's got a hangover."
He made the comment at a political fundraiser in Houston last Friday after asking members of the audience to turn off their video cameras. Someone obviously ignored his request and a snippet wound up on a blog Tuesday by Miya Shay of ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston.
Bush clearly was in a good mood as he addressed a crowd in a private home. Members of the media were barred from the appearance.
"There is no question about it. Wall Street got drunk," the president said. "That's one reason I asked you to turn off your TV cameras."
"The question is, How long will it (take to) sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments?"
He segued to problems in the housing market but said they weren't an issue in Houston. "Evidently not in Dallas because Laura's over there trying to buy a house today." Bush has six months left in office and is expected to return to Texas.
Bush expressed his fondness for Crawford, where he owns a ranch. "Unfortunately, after eight years of asking her to sacrifice I am no longer the decision-maker," he said, amid laughter from the crowd. "She'll be deciding — thanks for the suggestion."
He said he reminded her, "Honey, we've been on government pay now for 14 years. Go slow."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Bush simply was describing the stock market the way many observers have.
"The president has made this point before," Fratto said. "Markets were dealing with very complex financial instruments, and it's clear to everyone that the markets didn't fully understand the risk those instruments posed."