Pelosi: Bush Left Us an Economy in ‘The Depths of Hell'

Jon Street | September 20, 2012 | 7:46pm EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.)

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the policies of the Bush administration created an economy that was so bad that it was in the "depths of hell"--a description she said Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson used in a Sept. 18, 2008 meeting with congressional leaders.

During a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, a reporter asked Pelosi, “I wonder if you could describe for us in as much detail, sort of regionally or race by race, exactly the scenario that makes you believe that this is a realistic process for Democrats?

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Pelosi outlined how she thought the Democratic Party could win back the House of Representatives in November and, after giving her scenario, she added, “And there’s a very distinct difference the president is pointing out about [how] he wants to take the country forward and they [Republicans] want to take it back to what got us in this trouble in the first place.”

She then described the meeting she had as House speaker with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in September 2008, “Four years ago on September 18 – read it, I won’t go into all the details, except to bottom-line it -- we had a meeting in the Speaker’s office in the Capitol -- bipartisan, bicameral -- at which the secretary of the Treasury described a situation of our economy and our financial institutions that was so dire.  He took us to the depths of Hell, a place so low that even Dante couldn’t find it -- make a circle down there, it was so low.”

Pelosi continued, “I then asked the chairman of the Fed Ben Bernanke what he thought of it -- Ben Bernanke is an expert on the Great Depression, that’s his area of expertise.  So I said, Mr. Chairman, what do you have to say about what the secretary said?  And Chairman Bernanke said, ‘If we do not act immediately -- this is a Thursday night, I looked at the time on my watch, a Thursday night, September 18.  And the chairman of the Fed said, ‘If we do not act immediately, we will not have an economy by Monday.’”

“Four years ago and two days ago the chairman of the Fed said if we don’t act immediately we will not have an economy -- after hearing the description and knowing the crisis we were in as a result of the policies of the Bush administration,” said Pelosi.

“So for them [Republicans] to have the unmitigated gall to ask the question, ‘Are your better off now than you were four years ago?’  when they had taken us to the brink of a great depression, a meltdown of our financial institutions, deep indebtedness, deepening the national debt to the point that if we didn’t act immediately we wouldn’t have an economy -- an economy by Monday,” said Pelosi.   “I mean, this [2012] election is urgent, because what are they advocating?  Going back to the same tax breaks for the rich that got us here in the first place.”

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