TOWN HALL

Bernanke 'Held Nose' Over Bailout

In a town-hall meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he had to “hold his nose” during the taxpayer-funded bailouts of banks last year, and understood Main Street’s frustration over the crisis. A small-business owner said the bailouts were “hard to swallow” since he was also struggling to make it through the recession. "Nothing made me more frustrated, more angry, than having to intervene" Bernanke replied, but added the bailouts were unavoidable. "I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression," he said. "I had to hold my nose…I'm as disgusted as you are.... I absolutely understand your frustration." Bernanke also described sleeping on a couch in his office during the “perfect storm” of housing, credit, and financial problems that erupted into a crisis last fall. The one-hour meeting will air on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS this week.