Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why we're losing New Orleans: The President wants to make the public forget his Katrina failures. The New York Times wrote an eloquent editorial last week about the indifference to New Orleans after Bush's unfulfilled promises -- and the immediate need for effective levee repair, at least.

But what's equally troubling is why the Bush Administration doesn't care anymore about Katrina: it wants to keep it off the nation's "radar screen," apparently so memories of Katrina don't drag down his poll numbers any more. A reporter with strong insider White House sources, Time's Mike Allen, on last week's Meet the Press, pointed out, "Tim, I'm going to tell you something that's going to amaze you because it amazed me when I looked it up yesterday and I lost a bet on this. The last time the president was in the hurricane region was October 11th, two months ago. The president stood in New Orleans and said it was going to be one of the largest reconstruction efforts in the history of the world. You go to the White House home page, there's Barney-Cam, there's Social Security, there's renewing Iraq. Where's renewing New Orleans? A presidential adviser told me that that issue has fallen so far off the radar screen, you can't even find it.

"Now, the White House told me that a lot of administration officials are going down there. More than 110 of them have made trips down there. They say they're still assessing how much they're going to spend. They're soon going to announce an initiative about communication during disasters and then there's an internal debate about how many mistakes to admit when they do that, but the other thing that was in the president's speech that's not mentioned there is remember how we thought that we had learned a lesson about race and poverty from what happened in New Orleans? One of the most memorable oratorical passages of this presidency, the White House put out, you know, bound books of that speech, talking about what he was going to do in that area. I go to speeches every day, we don't hear that.

"MR. RUSSERT: The American attention span, of--Katrina victims are still there, suffering."

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