HENRY PAULSON: The Man Who Wasn’t There

[CBS News: Bush Vows to Safeguard Financial Systems]

DAN BUSKIRK: I don’t want to start a panic or anything but is anyone paying attention to Treasury Secretary/Bail-Out Chief Henry “Hank” Paulson these days?  Look at him fidgeting behind Bush “Relax, I’M on the job” announcement yesterday. He looks like he’s ready to start sobbing, or he has to pee or he’s afraid someone’s going to run up from behind and de-pants him.  What ever is going on, he ain’t inspiring confidence.

MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, warning that “millions of Americans cannot find affordable financing for basic credit needs,” announced a major expansion of the federal bailout on Tuesday — as much as $800 billion to make mortgages and consumer credit more available and affordable. The government will buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets, and, in a separate action, lend up to $200 billion to investors who’ve bought securities backed by consumer loans such as credit cards, auto and student loans, in a bid to free up consumer credit. MORE

CNN MONEY: The home price plunge stayed on a record pace this summer, according to a widely watched gauge of national real-estate markets released Tuesday. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price national index recorded a 16.6% decline in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago. That eclipsed the previous record of 15.1% set during the second quarter. Prices in Case-Shiller’s separate index of 10 major cities fell a record 18.6%, while its 20-city index dropped a record 17.4% With foreclosures soaring at record rates, the economic picture dimming and job losses ramping up, all the elements were in place to push prices lower. MORE

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