QUIT WHILE HE’S BEHIND…. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) recently ran into some trouble after telling voters that when the economic crisis first began, he urged his family to use ATMs to take as much money out of the bank as they could. Burr, in other words, was encouraging a bank run — a strikingly irresponsible thing for a senator, who should know better, to say.

Looking back, does Burr realize why he was wrong? And why his panic-driven approach would make things worse? Apparently not.

“Absolutely I’d do it [again],” Burr told WFAE, a public radio station in North Carolina. “The exact situation we were faced with was a freeze bank to bank. And as I stated, my attempt was to make sure my wife had enough cash at home to make it through the next week.”

But Burr added that the bank in question was never in trouble, which raises questions about why he feared it would run out of cash.

“It was not an attempt to run a bank,” Burr said. “Nor was it a bank that was even considered then or now to be in trouble.”

Burr, in other words, is still confused. If the bank was never in any trouble, why encourage people to withdraw the maximum as an economic crisis was getting underway? Indeed, why would he repeat this story dozens of times, in front of large audiences?

This really isn’t complicated. Burr, a sitting senator seeking re-election next year, has been suggesting to the public that their bank deposits aren’t entirely safe. At the first sign of real trouble, Burr thinks people should get to their banks and start withdrawing, just to be safe. That’s not only crazy, it’s the kind of advice that exacerbates the problem and creates a more intense panic.

Instead of rationalizing a foolish comment, maybe Burr can just acknowledge he said something stupid?

Ironically, about a week ago, Burr boasted that he’s so intelligent, he can speak without teleprompters, unlike a certain president. And yet, when Burr comments on the economy, he promotes bank-runs, gets confused about economic growth, and proves that he has no idea how interest rates work.

Sounds like he could benefit from a teleprompter, among other things.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.