Casualty of Firestorm: Outrage, Bush and FEMA Chief – New York Times

I’m sorry, but this smacks of White House damage control, much in the same way the “news report” that Air Force 1 was being targeted on 9/11 was used to cover up the President’s waffling and disappearance on that day. Certainly, his public support for “Brownie” a few days later disspells this new image of a do-something President, and news reports were not hard to come by if you switched on a TV (but then, maybe DVDs are the preferred media of choice during Bush vacations.) Two disasters later, I think we can all agree that this is not a man who thinks quickly on his feet, or can coordinate action when it is needed:
The president, long reluctant to fire subordinates, came to a belated recognition that his administration was in trouble for the way it had dealt with the disaster, many of his supporters say. One moment of realization occurred on Thursday of last week when an aide carried a news agency report from New Orleans into the Oval Office for him to see.

The report was about the evacuees at the convention center, some dying and some already dead. Mr. Bush had been briefed that morning by his homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, who was getting much of his information from Mr. Brown and was not aware of what was occurring there. The news account was the first that the president and his top advisers had heard not only of the conditions at the convention center but even that there were people there at all.

“He’s not a screamer,” a senior aide said of the president. But Mr. Bush, angry, directed the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., to find out what was going on.

“The frustration throughout the week was getting good, reliable information,” said the aide, who demanded anonymity so as not to be identified in disclosing inner workings of the White House. “Getting truth on the ground in New Orleans was very difficult.”

If Mr. Bush was upset with Mr. Brown at that point, he did not show it. When he traveled to the Gulf Coast the next day, he stood with him and, before the cameras, cheerfully said, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

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