WASHINGTON — When the banking crisis hit last fall, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr told his wife to take as much money from the ATM as she could.
It's an anecdote that Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, has told for a while when talking about the nation's financial woes. But after he used it in a speech Monday before the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, it began to ripple across the political world.
In the 40-minute speech, Burr told an audience of about 70 business executives about the recent banking crisis and the federal government's response. He said he was so spooked after a briefing in Washington last fall that he called his wife, Brooke, back in North Carolina.
"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," he said, according to an account in the Hendersonville Times-News. "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."
Capitol Hill newspapers linked to the story online. Liberal bloggers criticized Burr. And Democratic strategists hoping to defeat Burr in 2010 pounced.
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