WASHINGTON – President Bush emerged from a meeting with foreign financial officials on Saturday and said they were cooperating on a global response to the credit crisis that will lead toward a "path of stability and long-term growth."
Bush announced no new strategies to attack the economic woes circling the globe, stressing instead, "We will do what it takes to resolve the crisis and the world's economy will emerge stronger as a result."
Bush spoke in the Rose Garden outside the White House, joined there in a show of solidarity not long after daybreak by finance officials from the so-called G-7 — Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada, in addition to the United States. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also attended.
"The United States has a special role to play in leading the response to this crisis," the president said. "That is why I convened this morning's meeting here at the White House and it is why our government will continue using all the tools at our disposal to resolve this crisis."
He added, "We've all agreed that the actions we take should protect our taxpayers and we've agreed that we ought to work with other nations ... As our nations carry out this plan we must be sure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another."
The White House meeting lasted about a half-hour, less than scheduled.
It was the 21st time in 26 days that the president has spoken publicly about the the credit crisis gripping the financial markets, a crisis that has now infected the stock markets. Congress heard testimony last week that the retirement accounts of Americans have lost $2 trillion in the past 15 months, and the New York Stock Exchange Dow Jones industrials average plummeted more than 18 percent last week alone, the largest ever in a week.
A wave of selling sent markets lower in several Asian and European nations on Friday, while other exchanges were closed to prevent the same fate.
The stock sell-offs stem from fears that banking systems have essentially frozen up around the world — a credit crisis that began three weeks ago in the United States and has led to an escalating series of interventions by the administration and Federal Reserve in the United States. Officials have also spoken openly of concerns that the United States may be headed for a potentially deep recession.