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North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad refers to a chart to his left as he meets with students in an economics class Thursday at North Dakota State University to discuss the economy. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Conrad says financial collapse was imminent in 2008

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It began with an emergency meeting one mid-September evening in 2008 with fewer than 20 of the nation's most influential leaders on fiscal policy.

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Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and Senate Budget Committee chairman, was among the elite group.

He was called into a room on Capitol Hill with top members of Congress - a mix of Republicans and Democrats - to meet with President Bush's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

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