Bush to Reassure Americans on Economic Turmoil

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As the stock market plunged to its lowest level in five years, the White House on Thursday sought to assure anxious Americans that the United States is working aggressively to stabilize the nation's chaotic financial system.

In a new effort to calm the crisis, President George W. Bush will make a statement on the economy Friday in the Rose Garden. Bush is not expected to announce any new policy decisions, White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

"He will assure the American people that they should be confident that economic officials are aggressively taking every action to stabilize our financial system," Perino said. "The Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC all have the necessary tools to address the problems we are facing." The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures accounts in U.S. banks up to $100,000.

"The Treasury Department is moving quickly to use new tools to improve liquidity, which is the root cause of this problem," she said. "Americans should be confident that every effort is being taken to stabilize our markets."

Bush will meet at the White House on Saturday with finance ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and the United States, then make a statement in the White House Rose Garden, Perino said.

Bush's statement reflects a nonstop effort by the president to show he is on top of a crisis that could help define his presidency.

Since news of the government bailout of the financial industry first broke, Bush has commented on the economy on 19 of the past 22 days.

Perino said Bush, after his statement on Friday, would proceed with his scheduled trip to Coral Gables, Florida, and Kiawah Island, South Carolina, for political fundraisers and a meeting with the Republican National Committee. He also will meet with representatives of the Cuban-American community in Florida.