"Tonight, I want you to go to the ATM machine, and I want you to draw out everything it will let you take. And I want you to tomorrow, and I want you to go Sunday," Senator Dick Burr told his wife Brooke following a briefing on the looming banking crisis by the Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson last year. "I was convinced on Friday night that if you put a plastic card in an ATM machine the last thing you were going to get was cash."
After the senator's rather revealing confession made a national ripple yesterday, Burr's spokesman tried to damp down the amazement: "The senator is simply trying to express what was on his mind as Congress was attempting to respond to the financial crisis last fall."
What was clearly on his mind was grabbing all the cash he could before the rest of the country found out what he'd been told as a privileged individual who gets briefings from the Treasury Secretary.
A panicky senator with little to no understanding of the U.S. banking system, combined with the "me first" attitude of your run-of-the-mill survivalist ... that's our North Carolina boy!