WASHINGTON — U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the federal government has an important role in the stability of financial markets, but added that he "never once" considered using taxpayer money to bail out Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

"It's important that regulators remain very vigilant, we're very vigilant," Paulson said at a briefing at the White House. "But we do not take lightly ever putting the taxpayers...on the line to support an institution."

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