President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. attempted to head off mounting market woes and investor freak-outs at the pass on Monday as Wall Street suffered its worst losses since right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Times:

As throughout most of the year, Mr. Bush and the White House left most of the details about the crisis to Mr. Paulson, who told reporters at a White House briefing that the problems in the housing markets at the heart of the financial crisis would take months to resolve themselves.

“I believe that there is a reasonable chance that the biggest part of that housing correction can be behind us in a number of months,” Mr. Paulson said. “I’m not saying two or three months, but in months as opposed to years.”

Mr. Paulson sought to distinguish the government’s decision to provide financial assistance to Bear Stearns last March, as well as to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week, from its rejection of aid requests from Lehman Brothers and A.I.G.

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