Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Did I hear what I think I heard?
Did President Bush in his New Orleans presser today say that he anticipated the storm in his speech on Monday (August 29th)? By Monday, Hurricane Katrina had made its second and third landfalls in Louisiana... and even after that, Bush continued with his schedule of birthday photo ops and speeches. That's hardly precient anticipation... Let's see if anyone in the MSM calls him on this one...

Update: The transcript of Bush's photo-op in New Orleans this morning is in, and it includes what most of the blogosphere is harping on (Bush's completely unsurprising -- and thus in my opinion, only glancingly newsworthy -- denial of the racial tinge to the botched rescue effort. But it also includes the following exchange: Bush again citing the GOP talking point about supposed headlines, relied upon by the administration, saying New Orleans had supposedly "dodged a bullet" (the same excuse used by FEMA chief Brown, Joint Chiefs chairman Richard Myers and HSA chief Chertoff for not acting sooner) and the above-mentioned post-hurricane hurricane anticipation by the prez. To date, no such "bullet dodging" news report has been found... Think Progress has done a thorough rehash on this, and Wonkettte has the day-of headlines. Ray Nagin's cries for help on Monday, Tuesday and beyond make it impossible to believe that Bush and his people are still using this particular talking point...

The closest I've come to such a headline is this AP story from August 31, which speaks of tourists in the French Quarter supposedly thinking they had "dodged a bullet" early Monday morning. Of Course, Monday was the day after a mandatory evacuation order had been issued for the entire city, and it was the same day the category five hurricane slammed into the city. The tourist areas of the French Quarter never flooded, and the long lines of people -- tourists included -- getting out of the city on Sunday make even this"afer the fact" report suspect...

Anyway, here's the transcript:
THE PRESIDENT: No, what I was referring to is this. When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, whew. There was a sense of relaxation, and that's what I was referring to. And I, myself, thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people, probably over the airways, say, the bullet has been dodged. And that was what I was referring to.

Of course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation in the moment, a critical moment. And thank you for giving me a chance to clarify that.

Q Mr. President, where were you when you realized the severity of the storm?

THE PRESIDENT: I was -- I knew that a big storm was coming on Monday, so I spoke to the country on Monday* morning about it. I said, there's a big storm coming. I had pre-signed emergency declarations in anticipation of a big storm coming.

Q Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: -- which is, by the way, extraordinary. Most emergencies the President signs after the storm has hit. It's a rare occasion for the President to anticipate the severity of a storm and sign the documentation prior to the storm hitting. So, in other words, we anticipated a serious storm coming. But as the man's question said, basically implied, wasn't there a moment where everybody said, well, gosh, we dodged the bullet, and yet the bullet hadn't been dodged.

Q Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Last question.
One can only hope...

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posted by JReid @ 12:40 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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