Olbermann names Sen. Burr World's Worst Person

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - United States Senator Richard Burr, scheduled to speak in Wilmington Friday night, is making national headlines.

Monday, Burr, a Republican, made a speech in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He spoke about how he felt when the global economic crisis was first coming to light.  He told an audience of Hendersonville area business leaders an anecdote about a conversation between him and his wife.

"On Friday night, I called my wife and I said, 'Brooke, I am not coming home this weekend. I will call you on Monday. 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.' 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."

On Tuesday, that quote was printed in a Hendersonville newspaper. Wednesday, Keith Olbermann named Burr the "World's Worst Person" on his MSNBC television show "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" for suggesting Americans should have made a run on the banks.

Friday evening, Burr spoke with WECT about the now-infamous quote.

"I stand by exactly what I said. I was using it as an analogy of the state of mind of members of Congress in the first few days of this crisis," said Senator Burr.

When asked if he thought the American people should take their money out of the banks, he said those instructions were only for his wife at that time.  He added that many Americans did take steps to hang onto their money more carefully because they were scared of what was coming.

Burr said he considers it a "badge of courage" that Olbermann and other pundits are taking aim at him.  He said he did not want to sugarcoat the financial crisis, which he believes could still get worse unless the federal government takes steps to involve private institutions in the recovery process.

Senator Burr is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the New Hanover County GOP Reagan Day dinner Friday night.  It began at 6:30 p.m. at the Roudabush in downtown Wilmington.  Republicans at the dinner said it is one of their biggest fund raisers of the year.

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