Here it is:
My fellow Americans:
I’m really sorry I wrecked the country, trampled the Constitution, spied on all of you, screwed the economy, and got all those people killed. I’d have resigned earlier, except I can’t get Dick Cheney to resign first.
Sorry about that.
Do whatever the grownups tell you.
Good night, and God bless America
(Use this as an open thread if you’re listening to our Prez, ’cause sometimes he departs from the prepared text.)
Update: Speech sounded like Bush reading Paulson/Bernanke; little difference, though he did acknowledge they’re willing to accept oversight, limits on bailing out executive compensation (though vague on details).
One point of clarification: He claims the goal is to purchase the toxic assets at the current low prices, hoping that they will increase in value later, so the Treasury can turn a profit. This seems unlikely if, as expected, foreclosures increase and make these securities even less valuable. But he said nothing about Treasury getting any equity position in exchange for taking on this risk, which is what Dodd has been pushing.
Dodd on MSNBC expressing doubts this approach will work.
Update 2: Dodd on the idea of McCain coming to the rescue: "I’ve been working day/night for five days on this, and I haven’t heard a word from John McCain."
Update 3: Overall impression: the main part of the speech was to describe to the American people all the economic consequences of not acting. Short: Restricted credit = restricted economic activity => severe recession. People should be nervous about that list of consequences.
Bush gave the standard explanation of how we got to this point, but he never took responsibility for his Administration ignoring all the early warnings — and the early warners, like Krugman, etc — which allowed this to get to the point where failure to act by Monday could bring an economy calamity.
That said, Bush did emphasize that both Democrats and Republicans were working on a solution; Obama and McCain would come to WH tomorrow. So McCain will claim credit for that stunt. But who will be convinced of this?
Earlier, reporters were noting that it was Republicans who are mostly opposing any bailout and threatening to vote against, leaving Pelosi, et al holding the bag, so it’s the President’s own party that is his problem and it’s making the Democrats nervous about having to save the economy and being blamed for it. In the meantime, many Democrats aren’t convinced this will work, and nothing they heard tonight is likely to convince them — nor should it.