2005/09/08

Press Conference with McClellan

Scott McClellan made an interesting comment at the press gaggle on the 6th:

Q Scott, there's words that James Lee Witt had said, that -- people who had been there within three hours after everything broke loose. Why was Mr. Brown not on the ground?

MR. McCLELLAN: He was, prior to the hurricane.

Q Well, why didn't he bring in the troops? Why didn't he deploy all the necessary assistance that was needed?

MR. McCLELLAN: There were -- disaster medical assistance teams were deployed. Search and rescue teams were deployed ahead of the hurricane.

This was folllowed up by the very sensible and relevant points:

Q But why didn't he -- but why weren't teams deployed to the Convention Center? Why weren't teams deployed to the Superdome? Why were people without water, without food? Why was there looting in New Orleans for survival? And you're talking about zero tolerance. Why did these things happen over a period of days, and you start seeing Mr. Brown on the air talking about he didn't know about the Convention Center and other things. Why?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, you're getting into all the after-action analysis, and I can't tell you all the --

Very interesting. There were teams on the job but, the Press Secretary does not seem to be able to provide any details as to where they were and what they were doing Funny how that works. Be interesting to see if that story spreads anyway.

McClellan also goes into "bureaucratic impediments". First off, the President has enough power that he can make a speech and, as former Budget Director David Stockman described in his book, the effect is like a ship's captain getting onto the ship's intercom and bellowing "Now hear this...". It's a very effective way to cut through all of the clutter, fights and squabbles than an administration might have. Second, it's awfully funny about how the aftermaths to the hurricanes of Florida 2004 never seem to have had the same problems. Of course, Florida was a swing state and there was an election coming up, so that's understandable.

As far as help from other nations goes, well...don't expect much.

Q In view of the national crisis, will the President withdraw his proposal for this tax cut for the richest people in the country? And, also, my second question is, why did we turn down foreign help?

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, I'm glad you brought that up. We have not. We have made very clear -- I made clear last week, the State Department made clear last week that we are going to take people up on their offers of assistance from foreign countries. There are some 94 nations and international organizations that have made offers of assistance -- whether that is cash support or I think water pumps from places like Germany or other areas. We said that if this can help alleviate things on the ground, we're going to take them up on their offers of assistance and we appreciate the compassion from the international community and their offers of assistance.

So, it doesn't look like New Orleans can expect much from non-US sources. I guess it might be a bit of an embarrassment to accept help from the world and then to sic someone like John Bolton on them.

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At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had ''absolutely no credentials.''

She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.

''He said 'Why would I do that?''' Pelosi said.

'''I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'''

''Oblivious, in denial, dangerous,'' she added

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As for Pelosi, Bartlett said she took Bush's words out of context to make him appear disconnected with the problems on the ground, when in fact he was trying to gather information about lawmakers' views. "Giving an unfair read of President Bush's thoughts and discussion is inappropriate and I think she should clarify," he said.

I wonder what the full and complete context would be
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DailyKos exposes the myth that Bush urged an evacuation of the city (Meaning Powerline is full of it)

UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long:

Republican and Democratic governors agree that the response to Katrina was deplorable, and many ordered reviews of their own state emergency strategies to root out problems they're witnessing in the Gulf Coast. Their top priority: Avoid the bureaucratic red tape that tripped up state, local and federal authorities at every step of the Gulf Coast crisis.



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