Bush to Host World Leaders at Nov. 15 Economic Summit

The summit the president announced will begin a series focused on the regulatory framework for global finance.
The summit the president announced will begin a series focused on the regulatory framework for global finance. (By Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press)
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By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 23, 2008

President Bush will host a summit on the global economic crisis in Washington on Nov. 15, kicking off landmark negotiations among world leaders on financial reforms less than two weeks after American voters go to the polls to choose a new president.

The timing and focus of the meeting highlight the severity of the economic crisis that will face Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama after the Nov. 4 election and illustrate how rapidly the president-elect will need to engage on the issue.

Bush has agreed to host the meeting as the start of a series of ambitious summits aimed at overhauling the regulatory framework for global finance first put in place more than six decades ago at a similar summit at Bretton Woods, N.H. The gathering will include leaders of the Group of 20, an organization of major industrialized and developing nations, as well as central bankers and international finance officials.

In announcing the summit's schedule yesterday, White House press secretary Dana Perino said the administration "will seek the input of the president-elect." But she added that the administration thinks that the severity of the global crisis requires nations to move ahead before a new U.S. president is sworn in on Jan. 20.

"We think it's important not to wait to have this meeting," Perino said. "The time will be just about right to have it then, because a lot of the emergency measures that these countries have put forward are hopefully starting to have an impact" on credit markets.

Perino said a venue has not yet been selected. The summit will be preceded by a White House dinner on Nov. 14, she said.

Both campaigns praised the decision to hold the summit but offered few details regarding the candidates' views on the key issues on the agenda.

Obama declined to say whether he would attend the meeting if elected, telling reporters in Richmond, Va., that "we still have one president at a time."

"I don't want to make commitments at this point in terms of our participation, my participation in something, before I've even won the election," he said.

Obama, who last month called for a G-20 meeting on the crisis, cautioned that the issues facing world economies are not going to be resolved in a single summit. "I've got some ideas and my economic team has some ideas in terms of the direction that we should move," he added. "But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on the details of that."

Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the Arizona senator is "pleased to see world leaders drawing together in this time of global economic crisis."

"This summit offers an opportunity to share information, examine ideas and compare plans for responses to the financial stresses," Rogers said. "It is an important opportunity to take urgent steps to recovery and prevention of similar crises in the future."

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