--- Julie Keller <jakeller@...
> To: email@example.com
> From: Julie Keller <jakeller@...>
> Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 06:08:37 -0700
> Subject: [utepprogressives] Brown: Politics played
> role in Katrina
NEW YORK - Political storm clouds gathered again over
the federalgovernment's response to Hurricane Katrina
as formerFederalEmergency Management AgencyDirector
Michael Brown said party politics influenced decisions
onwhether to take federal control of Louisiana and
other areas affectedby the hurricane.
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the partisanship
Brown described was"disgusting," while a White House
spokeswoman said Brown was making"false statements."
Brown told a group of graduate students Friday that
some in the White House had suggested the federal
government should take charge inLouisiana because
Blanco was a Democrat, while leaving Mississippi
Gov.Haley Barbour, a Republican, in control in his
Brown, speaking at the Metropolitan College of New
York, said he hadrecommended toPresident Bushthat all
90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast affected by
thedevastating hurricane be federalized a term Brown
explained asplacing the federal government in charge
of all agencies responding tothe disaster.
"Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House
were thinking,'We had to federalize Louisiana because
she's a white, femaleDemocratic governor, and we have
a chance to rub her nose in it,'" hesaid, without
naming names. "'We can't do it to Haley (Barbour)
becauseHaley's a white male Republican governor. And
we can't do a thing tohim. So we're just gonna
Brown, 52, declined to say who in the White House had
argued forfederalizing the response only in Louisiana.
He said that he'd laterlearned of the machinations
through Blanco's office and from federalofficials.
Blanco reacted sharply to Brown's remarks.
"This is exactly what we were living but could not
bring ourselvesto believe. Karl Rove was playing
politics while our people weredying," Blanco said
through a spokeswoman, referring to Bush's
toppolitical strategist. "The federal effort was
delayed, and now thepublic knows why. It's
Eryn Witcher, a White House spokeswoman, denied
"It is unfortunate that Mike Brown is still hurling
false statementsabout the events surrounding Hurricane
Katrina," she said. "The onlyconsideration made by the
administration at the time of this tragedyand since
are those in the best interests of the citizens of the
Calls made late Friday seeking comment from the
federal Department ofHomeland Securitywere not
immediately returned. A spokesman for Barbour, Pete
Smith, hadno immediate comment.
The question of federal control became a source of
contention afterKatrina. Bush asked to put military
relief efforts in Louisiana underfederal oversight,
but Louisiana officials rejected that idea,
keepingstate control over National Guard troops. They
worked together withfederal forces.