Bush: "Congress Must Act"

President Bush, addressing the country from the White this morning, downplayed the bailout's $700 billion price tag, pointing out that yesterday's 777 point drop in the Dow wiped out a trillion in assets.

He said his staff will be discussing a new strategy with lawmakers today, despite the fact that both houses are shut down for the Jewish New Year.

"It matters little what path legislation takes to become law—it matters that it becomes a law," he said. "Congress must act."

Then he made his pitch to GOP lawmakers, who voted two-to-one against the plan.

“I recognize this is a difficult vote for members of Congress – many of them don’t like the fact that our economy has reached this point… but the consequences grow worse each day we don’t act. The dramatic drop in the stock market we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on the retirement accounts, pension funds and the personal savings of millions of our citizens.”

"As much as we would to wish the situation were different, our country is not facing a choice between government action and the smooth functioning of the free market."