White House Appearance ‘A Painful Reminder,’ Experts Say

President George W. Bush used a Rose Garden appearance today to reassure investors that he was at the helm of the U.S. economy, causing stock markets to plummet around the world.

“You don’t have to worry about this economy, because I am in charge of it,” said Mr. Bush, touching off what some observers were calling a global financial panic.

Mr. Bush began his remarks about the economy at 10:30 A.M. eastern time, and by 10:31 markets around the world had already gone into a perilous free-fall.

According to Wall Street insiders, the markets were responding to the news that Mr. Bush was still president.

“Over the last few weeks, the markets have absorbed the news of the subprime crisis, the housing meltdown, and the Bear Stearns failure,” said Logan Teasdale of Citigroup. “But the news that President Bush is still president was too much for the markets to shrug off.”

Over the past few months, Mr. Teasdale said, traders have tried hard to forget that Mr. Bush was still president, but his White House remarks today were “a painful reminder.”

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