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Burr told people not to worry

The flap over U.S. Sen. Richard Burr ATM remarks just got another boost.

The Washington-based Politico newspaper reported this afternoon on a statement that Burr put out when Citigroup bought Wachovia reassuring North Carolinians not to worry — around the same time he told his wife to withdraw money from the bank:

"Today's news of Citigroup's acquisition of Wachovia might be unsettling to many in North Carolina. While these are difficult times in our economy, it is important to remember that this move provides for the protection of accounts and the soundness of savings for Wachovia's customers. FDIC has said that all services for customers should continue uninterrupted."

"Today's news once again shows that our financial markets are currently facing tremendous uncertainty, and it is an absolute necessity to move quickly to bring some stability to the crisis."

The press release was posted to Burr's Web site at 12:46 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2008.

On Thursday, Burr spokesman David Ward said that the senator had called his wife around the last weekend in September.

"When you think about the three weeks prior to this, you saw some of the biggest investment banks and commercial banks fail. You saw Lehman collapse, Fannie and Freddie propped up, WaMu fall, and Merrill Lynch acquired by Bank of America," he said. "The outlook was pretty grim at the time."

Burr has told that story before

A spokesman says Sen. Richard Burr has told that anecdote before.

David Ward, press secretary for the Winston-Salem Republican, said that Burr has told audiences before about the time he was so spooked by the nation's financial situation that he told his wife to take money out of the ATM.

"The Senator is simply trying to express to North Carolinians what was on his mind as Congress was attempting to respond to the financial crisis last fall," he said in a statement. "It is part of a much longer anecdote that he has been using for some time to convey to constituents the severity of what we were being told was happening in the financial system."

Ward said that it would be "disingenuous and irresponsible" to misconstrue Burr's recent speech to the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce.

Burr, who is traveling in Western Carolina, was unavailable for comment.

Burr names new spokesman

Sen. Richard Burr will have a new spokesman next week.

Chris Walker, who has served as press secretary since late 2007, is leaving to work as communications director for former Sen. Bill Frist's education initiative, Tennessee SCORE.

A graduation of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Walker had worked for sen. Fred Thompson, at federal agencies and for the Republican National Committee before joining Burr's office.

Starting next week, David Ward will be Burr's spokesman.

Ward, a native of Raleigh and a fellow Wake Forest University alum, has worked with Walker on Burr's communications team.

In 2008, he was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill" by a local newspaper.

Burr staffer makes the list

It's official: A staffer for U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is one of the beautiful people.

David Ward, a Raleigh native who serves as Burr's press secretary, was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill" by D.C. paper The Hill today.

The item on Ward notes the 25-year-old's "swoon-worthy blue eyes" and notes his hobbies:

When not working for the people of North Carolina, Ward travels back to the state he represents to surf and fish. But this might not be often. Ward also reminds us that "the people's work never sleeps."

A Wake Forest graduate, Ward previously worked as an intern to U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx.

Burr's office is something of a Ford Modeling Agency. Last year, his mail manager — a "6-foot-1, tanned, surferesque Republican" — also made the list.

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