by Kevin Allman
Yesterday we wrote about George W. Bush's last press conference as president, in which he defended the federal response to the levee failures following Katrina thusly:
"Dont tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs.
Sure enough, Mr. President...as long as you don't try to hide your response behind the heroics of the Coast Guard and the Cajun Navy.
Anyway, the completely specious 30,000 number (and the explanation) was repeated last night on Larry King Live, in an interview where the Suspendered One asked Bush about the lowest point of Katrina.
Was it watching the suffering? Was it the frustration at not being able to get food and water on the ground?
No. It was not:
KING: Upon reflection, two more things: was Katrina the lowest point beyond foreign the entanglements and 9/11.
G. BUSH: I think being called a racist because of Katrina was a low point. I can remember people saying George Bush is a racist because of the response, when in fact, the truth of the matter is the response was pretty darn quick, if you think about the fact that the Coast Guard and a lot of brave kids were pulling 30,000 people off of roofs as soon as the storm passed, as soon as they found people on those roofs.
KING: But a lot of mistakes happened too.
G. BUSH: Well, yes, at all levels of government, absolutely.
KING: Do you think those mistakes, that we learned from them?
G. BUSH: No question. And that's a good thing about government. By the way, we have had -- I don't know, we've had -- I want to say -- I know of, sitting right here, eight hurricanes, major hurricanes, and seven and a half were dealt with the way everybody expected them to be dealt with. The Mississippi part of Katrina was dealt with well, even though it was a really horrible hurricane.
My brother was governor of Florida, and seven major hurricanes hit there. And the response was always pretty good. It's the response out of New Orleans and Louisiana which was not as good as we would have liked.
Not "the response to..." but "the response out of."
When the Bush interview was over, The Suspendered One brought on a panel of four pundits: David Gergen, "a former adviser to five presidents"; Jim VandeHei, "executive editor of Politico"; Hillary Rosen, "editor at large at the Huffington Post"; and "Republican strategist Kevin Madden." The first question -- directed at Gergen -- was "David, what is going to be, in your opinion, the legacy of George W. Bush?"
Not a single one of them mentioned Katrina.
I hear the Obamas are getting a puppy. That will be nice.