CAMP DAVID, Md. – European leaders are lobbying President Bush at the Camp David presidential retreat on Saturday to support a summit by year's end that would craft ways to reform the world financial system.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso are trying to convince Bush that now is a good opportunity to tighten and better coordinate control of the financial markets, in response to the economic crisis that has shaken markets around the globe.
The president has backed the steps European nations have taken to stem the economic crisis, and is in favor of a meeting in the near future of the Group of Eight industrialized powers and other emerging economies like China and India. But the U.S. hasn't signed on to the more ambitious, broad-stroke revisions that some European leaders like Sarkozy have in mind for the world financial system.
Sarkozy and Barroso are stopping at Camp David to meet with Bush on their way home from a summit in Canada.
On Friday, Sarkozy repeated his call to overhaul the global financial system so that it can be better supervised in the wake of the crisis.
"Together we need to rebuild a capitalism that is more respectful to man, more respectful to the planet, more respectful to future generations and be finished with a capitalism obsessed by the frantic search for short-term profit," Sarkozy said
Sarkozy and other European leaders want Bush and representatives of presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, to meet before the end of the year in New York and to forge a new vision for the global economy. Sarkozy has floated the idea of reforming rating agencies and even exploring the future of currency systems.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who engineered a British bank bailout that inspired U.S. and European rescues, is proposing radical changes to the global capitalist system, including a cross-border mechanism to monitor the world's 30 biggest financial institutions.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said the Camp David meeting was not expected to produce any new policy decisions or the date or place for a planned meeting of leaders of major economic powers, the so-called G8. Instead, she said it would focus on efforts, extending as far back as April, on coordination for financial stability through measures such as bank disclosures, accounting rules at credit rating agencies, capital standards and asset valuation.
In his weekly radio address, Bush on Saturday sought to reassure Americans about the cost and scope of the nation's financial bailout plan and said that in the long run "our economy will bounce back." He acknowledged that people are concerned about their finances and, while he offered assurances about an eventual recovery, he did not say when that would happen.
Since Oct. 9, 2007, when the Dow topped 14,000, investors have lost $8.3 trillion from pension funds, college savings plans, 401(k)s and other investments. Congress gave Bush a $700 billion plan to buy bad assets from banks and other institutions to shore up the financial industry.
"The federal government has responded to this crisis with systematic and aggressive measures to protect the financial security of the American people," Bush said in the radio broadcast. "These actions will take more time to have their full impact. But they are big enough and bold enough to work."