The financial pundits have been crying for someone to instill confidence in the markets. So, here comes Paulson to the rescue…in a November 20th event in Simi Valley, California, Paulson was asked, “When do you expect our economy to finally hit bottom so we can begin the process of recovery?” His response was telling.

Henry Paulson:
“Huh-hah…yeah…that is, uh, ah, I appreciate the straight walk talk an-an-and I tend to be blunt but treasury secretaries can’t be that blunt so, so I, I, w-w-what I, w-what I will say to you is, is you get two things here which is a bit of a challenge in communicating t-to the American people *brief pause* because there’s the financial system and an-and the stability of the financial system and then there’s the economy. And, when we went to Congress to talk about the financial system an-and the crisis we-we were we were facing, the um, trying to communicate that and communicate to the American people, that we saw what had happened, what was happening in the financial system was gonna have a big impact on the economy…and we could see that, and, uh, an-and knew that, that, it was inevitably gonna have that impact but it woulda been much worse, and it would be much worse if, if we, if you know, if if if the financial system’s not stable. Now, i-i-in terms of your specific question, I don’t have an answer for you there, *crowd begins to laugh* other than, o-other than to say, that which is, w-w-which is where “Duke” started off, uh which is, you know, ou-our economy, you know, we’re a strong entrepreneurial nation, we’re a rich nation, we have the resources, we have the tools, uh, t-to deal with this, my focus is really on financial system eh-eh-eh stability, getting credit flowing again, because that’s gonna be the key. When, i-i-i-it as, as that happens, you know getting back to Brian’s question when the banks are lending, when credit is flowing, when the, the credit markets away from the banks are working, we will, w-we will have a stronger economy and and housing p-p-p you know housing prices uh, uh stabilize. And so I think it, i-it’s gonna w-we’re gonna have some challenging months here but w-w-we’re gonna work through this but I can’t give you a…a…uh…a-a date.”

*crowd laughs*

I thought the laughter a bit awkward, maybe it was just nervous tension, what he said was certainly not funny. Maybe they were laughing at him…