Bush talks with European leaders on crisis
President Bush reached out to European leaders on Tuesday to urge coordination on efforts to solve the financial crisis spreading around the globe. The White House said Bush was open to the idea of a leaders' summit on the economic upheaval, ap reported.
Bush talked with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
With unemployment rising and businesses unable to get credit, White House press secretary Dana Perino offered a gloomy forecast for the economy. "Obviously, this next quarter is probably not going to be a very good one," she said. She said Americans would not look forward to opening their next investment statements.
Bush was to speak about the economy later in the day during a visit to a office products firm in suburban Chantilly, Va.
"He will acknowledge the concerns and the anxieties that Americans are having about the funds that they've saved for college or the funds they've saved for retirement, and the still-volatile financial markets, and the understandable anxiety that that has created over the past several weeks," Perino said.
"He will explain how the credit freeze is a problem that could affect everybody up and down the economic food chain," she said.
Perino said the administration was focusing on a meeting at the end of the week of finance ministers from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, the so-called G-7. At the same time, she left the door open for Bush to attend an emergency leaders' meeting suggested by Sarkozy.
"The president obviously talked to President Sarkozy about his idea to have a meeting. The president's open to that," she said.
"But the immediate focus is on this weekend's meeting because we're still in a situation where we have an emergency where we need to act today and not worry too much about a meeting," Perino said. "We want to make sure that everyone's on the same page when they get there so that it can be an effective and efficient meeting."
She said the United States was satisfied with the level of cooperation now among European allies on the crisis.
"I think that he would say that it is sufficient and that they are talking and that they're communicating," Perino said. "It's critical that everybody gets on the same page."