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Monday, January 22, 2007

Party Politics and the Response to Katrina

If I'm caught in a disaster, I want the government to do what's best for me and the other people in need of help, not what's best politically:

Ex-FEMA Chief Cites Politics in Katrina Response, Time: Party politics played a role in decisions over whether to take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, former FEMA director Michael Brown said Friday.

Some in the White House suggested only Louisiana should be federalized because it was run by a Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Brown told a group of graduate students at a lecture ... at Metropolitan College of New York.

Brown said he had recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast affected by the hurricane be federalized, making the federal government in charge of all agencies responding to the disaster.

"Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it," he said.

Brown declined to say who in the White House had argued for only taking control of Louisiana, but said that he'd later learned of the situation through Blanco's office and from other officials on the federal level.

Blanco reacted sharply on hearing what Brown had said.

"This is exactly what we were living but could not bring ourselves to believe. Karl Rove was playing politics while our people were dying," Blanco said through a spokeswoman, referring to President Bush's top political strategist. "The federal effort was delayed, and now the public knows why. It's disgusting."

Eryn Witcher, a White House spokeswoman, denied Brown's claims. ...

    Posted by on Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:06 AM in Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (20)


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