Bush defends bailout of financial firms

Former President George W. Bush said a decision to use taxpayer money to bolster the financial system in 2008 wasn't difficult and was needed to avoid an economic collapse. 

"Depression, no depression," Bush told about 2,000 people during The University of Texas at Tyler's Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday night. "It wasn't that hard for me, just so you know. I made the decision to use your money to prevent the collapse from happening."

Bush made the comments two weeks before the November midterm elections as fellow Republicans decry the bailouts provided by the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which is expected to cost taxpayers about $51 billion. 

Bush said he conferred with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about three weeks into the economic downturn and that Bernanke told him that without "significant" action, "you're likely to see a depression greater than the Great Depression," according to a story in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.