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Super Pancake

Bush: 'I take responsibility' for federal failures

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Super Pancake

Bush: 'I take responsibility' for federal failures after Katrina

Bush to address nation Thursday about Katrina

Tuesday, September 13, 2005; Posted: 3:14 p.m. EDT (19:14 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Tuesday he takes responsibility for the federal government's failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. (Watch Bush's comments -- 0:47)

Bush was responding to a reporter's question about whether Americans should be concerned that the government is not prepared to respond to another disaster or terrorist attack after it took several days for aid and troops to arrive in New Orleans and other areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

He repeated his desire to find out exactly what went wrong on every level of government.

"It's in our national interest that we find out exactly what went on ... so we can better respond," Bush said.

A bipartisan joint congressional committee is to review the response at all levels of government to the hurricane and report its findings to Congress no later than February 15.

Bush praised the first responders and the U.S. Coast Guard, who risked their lives to rescue New Orleans residents stranded on their rooftops.

"I'm not going to defend the process going in, but I will defend the people on the front line of saving lives," Bush said.

Earlier in the day, the White House said the president will address the nation Thursday night about the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

The 9 p.m. ET address is the latest administration reaction to Katrina, which roared ashore on August 29.

"The president will talk to the American people about the recovery and the way forward on the longer-term rebuilding," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters, according to Reuters.

Bush is expected to make his address from storm-wracked Louisiana, where the president toured damaged New Orleans neighborhoods on Monday.

On Monday, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown resigned, after questions were raised about his qualifications and for what critics call a bungled response to Katrina's destruction. (Full story)

Bush chose David Paulison, director of FEMA's preparedness division, as interim director.

Paulison said Tuesday he planned to focus on getting people out of shelters "and into some type of either semi-permanent or permanent housing."

Speaking at a news conference, he also pledged to help victims by working with state and local officials.

"This has to be a partnership, because ultimately the communities are entitled to take responsibility and empower themselves," Paulison said.

Paulison, who is also administrator for the U.S. Fire Administration, was a former fire chief in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Brown's resignation came three days after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recalled him to Washington and replaced him as point man for Katrina relief efforts.

Since then, Vice Adm. Thad Allen, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, has been leading FEMA's mission along the Gulf Coast.

Chertoff said he expects to make other appointments to FEMA in coming days, "including a permanent deputy director to augment the resources available to assist with FEMA's vital mission."

Brown's fall came quickly. On September 2, Bush told the 50-year-old lawyer, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." (Watch Brown's interview with CNN on September 2 -- 2:11)

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, applauded the latest development. "I think it is clearly in the country's interest," Kennedy said.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he was not surprised.

"Things didn't go as well as it should have," said the Tennessee Republican. But Frist added, "Now, I am very pleased where we are."

CNN's John King and Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.

source

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Nxt2Hvn

I was wondering when this was going to make it onto UM.... cool.gif

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stillcrazy

I will have to give him some credit. When you are the President you are the one the country looks to for leadership in times of trouble. Be it man made or an act of nature. The head of FEMA, The Department of Homeland Security are presidential appointees. Being such, thier boss shoulders responsibility for failures in the system.

And I just lost a hundred bucks bet to a rabid republican (As opposed to a vaccinated republican.)

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Nxt2Hvn

Almost forgot.. Welcome back Stillcrazy wub.gif

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JayRob303

It does fall into a catagory of 'National' Emergency, so I tend to agree that it is 'his' fault. It is nice to see that he accepts responsibility for his or his counterparts, lack of action.

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Kismit

Still Crazy, I've been looking for you.

You know I would have made that same bet. grin2.gif

I have to say this is something I can even respect George for. When you lead anything you have to shoulder responsibilty. That's why your paid the big bucks.

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Andy_R

I don't think Bush has anything to be sorry about.

FEMA was never intended to do everything. It was intended to "assist" local authorities if/when disaster strikes.

The response times were nothing out of the ordinary, and were not any slower than any other major hurricane relief effort.

It's unbelievable how the media have been slamming Bush.

Clinton's response to disasters was no better.

It is my belief that the liberal press is trying to turn the entire state of LA against Mr. Bush in an attempt to gain a southern blue state in the next election.

They will be making this an issue in 2008. Wait and see. They're planning ahead.

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JayRob303
They will be making this an issue in 2008.

Absolutely.

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LarryOldtimer
It does fall into a catagory of 'National' Emergency, so I tend to agree that it is 'his' fault.  It is nice to see that he accepts responsibility for his or his counterparts, lack of action.

842312[/snapback]

Now, if you would be so kind, please tell us specifically what the federal government did wrong, that was within its legal capability of doing, and where FEMA failed, within its legal responsiblities and charter. Please cite specific instances. For instance, "to slow to respond" doesn't cut it. geek.gif

Edited by LarryOldtimer

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Fluffybunny

I can't believe I am about to defend bush, but I think that there is a lot of blame to be placed on people, but on lower levels of government and FEMA. I think that it is nice to see Bush being willing to accept the blame for delays in getting help to the gulf coast(I'd be happy as a clam if he did the same about Iraq, but anyway). As they say "the buck stops here", although at this point I am not sure what else he could have done. Perhaps not drawing funds away from what could have reinforced the seawalls...It is hard to say.

I think that the mayor of NO as well as the governors of the states could have done more in regards to getting people out of the area beforehand, but without knowing the details it is hard to say how feasible that would have been...

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Super Pancake

Mayor Nagin did order an mandatory evacuation of the city before the storm. But I think the perception of the storm had people of New Orleans to doubt about leaving. A number of people actually thought they could ride it out because they survived camilla. sad.gif

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ROGER

Hind sight is always 20/20. And I think its nice for the President to talk some of the heat. But our Governments infrastructure consists of many level , with each level assigned an area of control. I feel sorry that , in the middle of a National Crisis , The Arm Chair politician's come out of the wood work. Intelligent people know better.

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zandore
Bush: 'I take responsibility' for federal failures after Katrina

After all he is the 'Commander In Chief" of The United States of America.

It is his job to make sure that competent people are going to do their job.

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842294[/snapback]

Move over sleepy.gif

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final flight

He should take responsibility for Katrinas slow response because he was on vacation when it hit. Also George Bush did visit the disaster zone faster than Clinton but a hurricane and a terrorist attack are two different things. Bush knew the hurricane was coming, Clinton didn't know about the bombing untill after it happened.

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Nxt2Hvn
He should take responsibility for Katrinas slow response because he was on vacation when it hit. Also George Bush did visit the disaster zone faster than Clinton but a hurricane and a terrorist attack are two different things. Bush knew the hurricane was coming, Clinton didn't know about the bombing untill after it happened.

842491[/snapback]

What??? Just because he is President means he can't take a vacation?... His vacation is totally irrelevant. rolleyes.gif

Yeah .. he knew the Hurricane was coming.. and actually after Katrina was over... New Orleans was dry.. the Levees didn't break until the afternoon after Katrina was over... and no one knew that was going to happen!

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stillcrazy
What??? Just because he is President means he can't take a vacation?... His vacation is totally irrelevant.

Being that Bush is a Civil Servant, being on vacation is no excuse for a slow response, and yes the response was slow for those who chose to argue the point. Even while the President is on vacation he is given daily briefs of goings on around the world, and here at home. He is the President 24/7/365

First: FEMA, is now under the control of the Department of Homeland Security, and being that it's budget has been gutted by said new department, no longer has the means nor manpower for rapid deployment.

Second: The engineers of the New Orleans levy have stated for years that the levy would not withstand the storm surge of anything above a category three hurricane. Days, not hours before Katrina hit, they knew it had the very real potential of being a category five storm. Being a category four at landfall does not lessen the fact that they knew the levy wouldn't hold.

Third: As for blaming local authorities for not requesting help sooner, or trying to say they should have asked for help before the storm is again a myth. FEMA and the Federal government have the authority to act without local request in the event of a danger to the infrastructure of the country's economy and/or resources. (Read the Patriot act) They would not have violated any law or states rights by doing so. The port of New Orleans is vital to the infrastructure of this nation. When prices go up on everything from gas to coffee, by then the Bush apology will be too little too late.

(Ps. Thanks for the welcome back.)

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joc

Hey StillCrazy...welcome back!

With all of the blaming going on back and forth it is starting to sound like a childish arguement. The fact is everyone could have done a better job. The problem is basically that while everyone knew what 'might' happen...there was no contingency plan for what 'might' happen...more a collective holding of the breath that what 'might' happen would never happen. One can only hold one's breath for so long.

This disaster should give us all pause to consider other catastrophies that 'might' happen and question with seriousness our ability or lack thereof to deal with them....nuclear attack, extreme catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, terrorist attack with chemical weapons. These are real possibilities and some could even be considered 'probablilities'.

Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda is a game not worth playing. The fact is we all need to 'butch up'!

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bathory
First: FEMA, is now under the control of the Department of Homeland Security, and being that it's budget has been gutted by said new department, no longer has the means nor manpower for rapid deployment.

i though its deployment times were well within the average disaster response time?

was New Orleans the only place to turn to crap due to a 'slow' response? i mean weren't 4 other states hit too?

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stillcrazy

i though its deployment times were well within the average disaster response time?

was New Orleans the only place to turn to crap due to a 'slow' response? i mean weren't 4 other states hit too?

842852[/snapback]

The response time was slowed due in part by not having enough civilian contractors ready to roll prior to the storm making land fall. This BTW has been a problem since the Clinton years and not just Bush, although placing FEMA under DHS IMHO was a mistake. Bush Sr. prior to hurricane Hugo instructed FEMA to locate emergency equipment and supplies close to the projected area of the storm's landfall. Even with that, folks were warned to have at least three days supply of food and water prior to Hugo hitting South Carolina. This was back in the days when FEMA cried wolf and was relieved when a puppy showed up.

And yes, other states were devastated by Katrina, but due to the very nature of New Orleans, and the massive number of folks who wouldn't or couldn't evacuate, the death toll and lawlessness was magnified. But that just goes to show the real nature of some people. There was very little law enforcement in N.O. During and after the storm. THe police had a very difficult choice to make and that was to rescue folks or try and maintain order. Due to lack of troops from the government, national and state guard, neither objective was has successful as it could be.

As for the topic of this thread, Bush was correct in apologizing for the perceived slow response, and again IMO his lack of concern for the situation for three days after the storm hit the Gulf coast.

IMHO again, I feel that he and his administration had a real chance at showing some national leadership and dropped the ball.

IF this had been a devastating terrorist attack, I fear what the federal response would be.

Last opinion. I feel that everyone, regardless of location should have in place a evacuation plan and some stores of food in the event of another disaster.

Hey Joc, Glad to be back.

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jesspy
He should take responsibility for Katrinas slow response because he was on vacation when it hit.

842491[/snapback]

He is always on vacation when bad things happen. Its like he has fore warning and decides "Oh I might go on vacation the American people dont need me" He should of taken vacation in New Orleans or even better, Bush should take a vacation in hell. Stupid Bush.

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