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Bush's mother-in-law among Enron losers

President Bush fields reporters' questions about Enron while touring a factory in Belle, West Virginia, to promote his pro-coal energy plan.  

BELLE, West Virginia (CNN) -- President Bush revealed Tuesday that his mother-in-law is among the losers in the Enron debacle.

While touring a machine factory in Belle, West Virginia, the president was asked about the growing Enron scandal and commented that he was angry about information that the company withheld.

"What I am outraged about is that shareholders and employees did not know all the facts about Enron," Bush said in the wake of reports the company allegedly practiced improper accounting techniques.

"My own mother-in-law bought stock last summer, and it's not worth anything now," the president said.

"If she had known all the facts, I don't know what the decision would have been, but she didn't know all of the facts, and a lot of shareholders didn't know all of the facts and that is wrong."

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Jenna Welch, Bush's mother-in-law, lost more than $8,000 on her investment, White House deputy press secretary Claire Buchan told reporters after Bush's remarks.

Buchan said Welch bought 200 shares of Enron on September 21, 1999, at $40.90 per share -- for a total investment of $8,180. She then sold her shares December 4, 2001, two days after Enron filed for bankruptcy, at 42 cents a share -- for a total of $84.

The president said his administration is focused on trying to make sure that what happened to his mother-in-law and other shareholders does not occur again.

"Our government must do something about it, must make sure that the accounting practices that have been going on for quite a while are addressed, make sure there is full disclosure and the corporate government's issues are wide open for everybody to understand," he said.

Bush said his administration has "acted the right way" about the bankruptcy and investigation of Enron.

Some Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups have raised questions about contacts that Enron's top executive had with Cabinet secretaries before the company filed for bankruptcy in December.

Those officials have said they took no action because of the calls.

CNN White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace contributed to this report.




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