Coleman stands by Wall St. comments, "presumes" it was taken out of context

Sen. Norm Coleman cut back into the debate on Wall Street today to defend what has become a blogosphere flurry of commentary. This weekend, he said "the government could make 10 or 20 times what it pays on this, possibly." Read our previous post here.

Here are his comments in the latest Minnesota Public Radio story:

Coleman is not disputing the accuracy of the quote. But Coleman said in his own call with reporters, he "presumes" he was referring to past government bailouts, not the current proposal to fund the Treasury Department with $700 billion to buy bad debt.

"I believe that it was a reference to a discussion about bailouts and government involvement in general, and I believe that the context was talking about Chrysler," he said.

Coleman went on to say he was also referring to last week's federal takeover of insurer AIG and the savings and loan crisis.

"Not in reference to this one, because at that time I don't think we had an understanding of exactly what's the nature of the government interest," he said. "We had a simple statement from the Secretary of the Treasury that he wanted authority to use government dollars to purchase assets."

Coleman said there's no way to estimate how much of a return taxpayers might get on the proposed Wall Street bailout. He said that's going to depend on how much the government ends up paying for assets. Coleman said he will not vote for any bill that does not protect taxpayers.

Ah, the bickering continues. So wait, I don't think he answered the question. Are we still going to be rolling in millions sometime soon? I already bought a swimming pool to fill with my winnings.

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