Bush Bitterly Attempts to Rewrite History on Hurricane Katrina
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During his final press conference this morning, Bush defended his response to Katrina. He said he has “thought long and hard about Katrina” and admitted that “things [could] have been done better” but denied any problem with the federal response to the disaster, insisting, “Don’t tell me the federal response was slow!”:
BUSH: You know, people said that the federal response was slow. Don’t tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. … 30,000 people were pulled off roofs right after the storm moved through. That’s a pretty quick response. Could things have been done better? Absolutely, absolutely. But when I hear people say the federal response was slow, then what are they gonna say to those chopper drivers? Or to the 30,000 that got pulled off the roofs?
The federal response to Katrina was nothing short of a disaster. A 2006 report compiled by House Republicans slammed what it called “a failure of leadership,” saying that the federal government’s “blinding lack of situational awareness and disjointed decision making needlessly compounded and prolonged Katrina’s horror.” The report specifically blamed Bush, noting that “earlier presidential involvement could have speeded the response” because the president alone could have cut through bureaucratic resistance.
Ali Frick is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.