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Bernanke, Paulson Tiptoe Around Credit Rating

One of the creepiest moments in today's five-hour bailout marathon was Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's questioning of Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke at the tail end of the hearing when the room had all but emptied out.

Does the bailout threaten the credit rating of the United States? Tester wanted to know.

Paulson stumbled around a bit -- and had to be told to speak directly into the microphone -- before saying that the $700 billion was just an initial payment and that much of the money was likely to be recouped.

"Everything we do effects the credit rating—but we believe this is the right thing to do," he added.

Bernanke spoke more directly to the point: "I don't think so – but I don't know how the rating agencies" calculate such scores. he said.