Bernanke: "I Had To Hold My Nose" Over Bailouts

07/26/09 10:34 PM

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Sunday that he had to "hold my nose" over last year's taxpayer-financed bailouts of big financial companies but argued that the action had to be taken to avoid a major meltdown of the U.S. financial system and the broader economy.

Bernanke's comments came during a town-hall style meeting in Kansas City, Mo., where he was peppered with several questions about government decisions last year to rescue so-called "too big to fail companies" like insurance giant American International Group, whose collapse would have wreaked havoc on the global economy.

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