Monday, September 12, 2005

Sen. Landrieu Embarrasses Herself and Democrats

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was on Fox News Sunday. Chris Wallace asked her questions about the response in Louisiana to hurricane Katrina. Residual Forces has the transcript. Here are some of the comments:

LANDRIEU: I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane.

...

LANDRIEU: In other words, this administration did not believe in mass transit. They won’t even get people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out ...

...

WALLACE: Well, look in the picture here. There were hundreds of buses in parking lots. The city and the state.

LANDRIEU: That is underwater. Those ...

WALLACE: It wasn’t underwater before the ...

LANDRIEU: Those buses were underwater. Those buses ...

WALLACE: They weren’t underwater on Saturday; they weren’t underwater on Sunday.

LANDRIEU: We had two catastrophes. We had a hurricane and then we had a levee break. When the levee broke, not only did New Orleans go underwater, but St. Bernard when underwater and St. Tammany Parish went underwater.

WALLACE: But they weren’t underwater on Sunday.

LANDRIEU: And Plaquemines went underwater. And because the mayor evacuated the city, we had the best evacuation between Haley Barbour and Kathleen Blanco of any evacuation I’ve seen. I’m 50 years old; I’ve never seen one any better.

WALLACE: But there were a hundred thousand people left in the city.

LANDRIEU: They did a hundred thousand people left in the city because this federal government won’t support cities to evacuate people, whether it’s from earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. And that’s the truth. And that will come out in the hearing.

...

LANDRIEU: Now is not the time for finger-pointing. Now is the time to rebuild. So, I’m asking the White House to stop sending out press releases blaming local and state officials.

WALLACE: But, Senator — I’m sorry. This works better if I get to ask some questions here.

LANDRIEU: I know. That would be fine.

WALLACE: OK, thank you. But you’re the one who’s done the finger-pointing. You were the one who, on the Senate floor, talked about the federal response being incompetent and insulting to the people of Louisiana. You were the one — if I might — and, I want to ask you, also, because you’ve also pointed the finger at the Bush administration for failing to spend enough on flood control. Here’s what you said this week on the Senate floor. Let’s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANDRIEU: They gambled that no one would notice if Louisiana’s critical and vital role in our national economy was threatened. And Washington rolled the dice and Louisiana lost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: But here is what the Washington Post found in an article this week, Senator. And let’s put that up on the screen if we can: “The Bush administration’s funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton Administration’s for its past five years.”

And, Senator, the article went on to say that Louisiana politicians, in too many cases, were involved in pork, rather than in trying to protect the city of New Orleans. And let’s go back to the article. Let’s put up another part of it: “For example, after a $194 million deepening project for the Port of Iberia flunked a Corps…” — that’s an Army Corps of Engineer — “… cost-benefit analysis, Sen. Mary Landrieu tucked language into an emergency Iraq spending bill ordering the agency to redo its calculations.” So, question, Senator: Is it just the president who gambled and lost or, frankly, did a lot of Louisiana politicians, including you?

LANDRIEU: The president gambled and lost, and I’ll tell you why, if you’ll let me answer this question. Number one, it is true that the president gave slightly more than Bill Clinton. But what is also true is Bill Clinton was running the largest deficit created by the Reagan administration before him and the Bush administration before him. President Bush was running a surplus. Yet, when he had a surplus, he didn’t invest it in levees and flood protection for people from Miami to Orlando to New Orleans to Biloxi or to Mobile. He had other priorities.

Sen. Landrieu was dodging the questions but still got caught by her own rhetoric. She got it backwards on which president had deficits and which had surpluses. She had it thrown in her face that she was blaming Pres. Bush while saying that this was not a time to cast blame. She said the mayor could not get city workers to work on a regular day, much less when a hurricane was coming. She pointedly refused to admit what is obvious to the whole country, that New Orleans had busses available before the hurricane but did not use them and did not protect them for later use. She claimed, contrary to all the facts, that the evacuation of New Orleans was the best she nas ever seen. And what point was she trying to make when she brought up mass transit?

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