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John Kerry Hits with Knock Out Punch on Documents Proving Bush Administration Failed to Heed Early Warnings on Katrina

by Pamela Leavey

Earlier today, I posted a piece about the news today reported by the WaPo and the NY Times that “48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm’s likely impact.”

John Kerry just released the following statement — a knock out punch, in my opinion — on the release of documents proving that the administration was fully and accurately briefed on the risks Hurricane Katrina posed to the Gulf Coast:

How is it that the White House Situation Room received detailed warnings 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, that the National Hurricane Center was warning CNN and the world that Katrina could be The Big One, that FEMA reported two days before landfall that Katrina’s surge ‘could greatly overtop levees and protective systems,’ destroy nearly 90 percent of city structures, require ‘incredible search and rescue needs (60,000-plus),’ and displace more than a million people – and the President days later still insisted on national television, ‘I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees’ that left 1,300 dead and thousands more homeless?

Where’s the accountability? Where’s the compassion?

“Hurricane Katrina stripped away any image of competence and exposed the true heart and nature of this administration. It showed Americans at their best – and our government at its worst.

“Sadly, there’s an enormous gap between what Americans deserve and what the government delivers. The shocking weakness of our government to deal with urgent challenges is tragically and dramatically underscored by the information that was being fed into the White House Situation Room, and the lack of response coming from a vacationing president on his ranch in Crawford.

Beginning with the appointment of an Arabian horse executive to lead America’s emergency preparedness in the post-9/11 world, to a president who remained away from the heart of the hurricane’s devastation for five days, Katrina is the story of a failure of leadership and its very real human consequences.

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the people running our government in Washington had cared to listen. They didn’t listen to the Army Corps of Engineers when they insisted the levees be reinforced. They didn’t listen to the countless experts who warned this exact disaster scenario would happen. They didn’t listen to years of urgent pleading by Louisianans about the consequences of wetlands erosion in the region, which exposed New Orleans and surrounding parishes to ever-greater wind damage and flooding in a hurricane. They didn’t listen when a disaster simulation just last year showed that hundreds of thousands of people would be trapped and have no way to evacuate New Orleans. They didn’t listen to those of us who have long argued that our insane dependence on oil as our principle energy source, and our refusal to invest in more efficient engines, left us one big supply disruption away from skyrocketing gas prices that would ravage family pocketbooks, stall our economy, bankrupt airlines, and leave us even more dependent on foreign countries with deep pockets of petroleum. And now it’s a proven fact that they didn’t listen when everyone was warning that Katrina was The Big One Louisianans had long dreaded. They didn’t even abandon their vacations.

“The people of the Gulf Coast got more of the same hurricane force spin and deception when they needed action and compassion. To say it’s an outrage is the understatement of the year – right up there with Brownie and his ‘heck of a job.’

33 Responses to “John Kerry Hits with Knock Out Punch on Documents Proving Bush Administration Failed to Heed Early Warnings on Katrina”

  1. I cannot believe my eyes. President Bush saying he didn’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees…you are taking one comment and construing it’s meaning. After all of the media coverage leading up to the hurricane, there are people who intentionally stayed in New Orleans thinking that it wouldn’t be as bad as the news teams were reporting, thinking they would ride it out. That doesn’t mean that President Bush didn’t anticipate the breach, it’s that he didn’t think anyone truly anticipated it. If you want to blame someone, put responsibility on this Louisianan’s governor. Kathleen Blanco did not take the necessary precautions that should have been taken. Democrats are just looking for an excuse to rip George Bush.

  2. Marcee

    Bush ripped himself – no one had to do it for him. These documents prove the point.

  3. People did not “intentionally” stay in NOLA. Lots of those people were poor blacks with NO transportation and no place to go but the Superdome and/or their homes. Ain’t nobody messing with Bush.

  4. Pamela and India Liberal

    You are right on. I’d say “the proof is in the pudding” and JK did a “real heck of a job” presenting all the facts to us. I’m so proud of his rapid-fire approach, courage and strength.

  5. Who feels safer now? Since 9/11, el pretzeldente has had 4 years to make this country safer. Katrina was his test and he failed miserably.

    How anyone can say this idiot who resides in the White House is keeping us safe is beyond my comprehension.

    Thank you Senator Kerry for speaking up about this. Keep it up. We need your voice now more than ever.

  6. Dotti J

    The proof is in the pudding. Great statement from JK…

  7. Dotti J

    Did you find the post with the link to BradBlog for the video of JK’s interview on Sunday?

  8. Anne

    What a fitting name – “el pretzeldente”!

  9. Kerry has been doing well lately.

    I hope the media questions bush about this and doesn’t let Bush simply get away with sending Scott McClellan out there with his non-answers.

    This revelation is a disgrace

  10. Marcee, would you like to argue your point with me? The Katrinacrat is in the house!! School is in session. I lived the deal down here you loudmouthed Bush-Lover!!

  11. Marcee, I couldn’t believe my eyes, either. bush* was strumming his new geetar and eating birthday cake with John McCain while New Orleans was drowning.
    And I hope those shoes give Condi blisters.

    Thank you KG, and thanks to Sen Kerry for pointing out the TRUTH once again.

  12. Stacy

    Kerry’s on a roll…

    The revelation is beyond a disgrace.

  13. El Pretzeldente!

    I love it! It joins my other fave term for Shrub’s “ranch”: El Rancho Boguso.

    Sounds fitting doesn’t it?
    El Pretzeldente resides at El Rancho Boguso. 🙂

  14. Here is a little something else to toss into the mix.

    White House slowing Katrina inquiry, senators say

    The White House is crippling a Senate inquiry into the government’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina by barring administration officials from answering questions and failing to hand over documents, senators leading the investigation said Tuesday.

    In some cases, staff at the White House and other federal agencies have refused to be interviewed by congressional investigators, said the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In addition, agency officials won’t answer seemingly innocuous questions about times and dates of meetings and telephone calls with the White House, the senators said.


  15. IMPEACH NOW! Send El Pretzeldente Back to El Rancho Boguso.

    Couldn’t help myself. 😉


  17. Interesting…
    The Chinks in the ‘Hillary’s an ’08 Lock’ CW Armor
    “Even more damning is the fact that the presidential runs of both Al Gore and John Kerry attracted more upstate voters — and carried more upstate counties — than Hillary did. “If Gore and Kerry won upstate New York,” writes Katz, “but couldn’t make sufficient red-state inroads, Clinton’s loss upstate doesn’t seem to bode well for her potential in truly red parts of the country.” The final nail in the upstate/redstate coffin: Hillary’s upstate numbers are very similar to those of the senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer — and, as Katz zings it, “no one is talking him up as the Democrats’ best chance to reclaim the White House.”

  18. Hi Donnie!

  19. Florida Dem

    ROFLMAO! Oh my goodness. Perfecto!

  20. Hola Donnie El Katrinacrato

    Florida Dem is rubbing off on me!

    I have not had a chance to read that one yet, but saw the headline earlier. Thanks for reminding me…

  21. Bonjour, Florida Dem and Pamela. I would be willing to forgo the whole impeachment process, if he would be so kind as to resign and accept a public flogging.

  22. Donnie

    LOL! I don’t think part of that is allowed any more.

  23. Thank you, again, Senator – President – Kerry. Bush drowned my city. Among other crimes – and his negligence was criminal – for this too he must be removed from the office he stole.

    Senator – President – Kerry, may your ‘tour of duty’ on behalf of your country be extended.

  24. LOL Pamela, I am not afraid to dream. 😉

  25. Kerry has been one of the most consistent voices on the travesty that was the federal response to Katrina. He was blistering to that fool Hector Barreto at the Small Business Comm hearing in Nov about the pace in which the SBA Sec was releasing money for loans.

    From the 11/8/05 SBA Hearing: Sen Kerry gestures to Sen. Snowe: “You and I have worked diligently with this committee to get an emergency hurricane response. It passed the United States Senate 96-0. It’s been sitting in limbo between the House and the Senate and just last Friday it was cut out of the CJS, cut out of the CJS conference by the Republicans. It has an emergency response, emergency lending. It has what we need and was cut by the Republicans. I just want to make that absolutely clear. I raised this issue with Sen. Frist on the floor last week and we get this talk about how we are going to look around. It’s all politics. Politics as usual in Washington DC is screwing a lot of Americans. And they deserve better.” (About 43-44 minutes into the hearing.)

    Go see this gem of a hearing and a really, really PO’ed Kerry at: http://sbc.senate.gov/hearings/109hrgs.html

  26. Tay, that hearing was the greatest. I thought that schmuck Barretto was going to cry.
    Sen Kerry is at his best when he’s pissed off.

  27. BTW Pamela, I went yesterday, to New Orleans. I had to go to that class at the corp. office. I saw a little of the damage, but did not get the chance to go far into the city. I had a fellow worker with me. I got the chills while looking around there. There are signs of life, and I even went eat lunch at one of the local places. I want to get back one day, to get a better look at it. What I did see, is amazing. It really hurt to see it.

  28. Tay Tay

    I think I missed that one. Thanks for the link.

  29. As I’ve told people since katrina, if the man couldn’t plan for a hurricane he knew was coming a week before land how is homeland security, fema, this lying, cheating, fake administration going to protect anyone from another attack. Not that I’m depending on the feds any way.

    Kerry was right Katrina showed americans at their best in helping their countrymen and this foul, insidous rovian government at its worst.

    Bush and his cronies let these people down big time. Some folks didn’t think it would be bad but many had no way to leave and nobody thought to use every bit transportation available to help them. They made all these promises and you can bet the farm they won’t deliver.

    For anyone who thinks the folks on the gulf aren’t getting screwed why did it take 4 months to get a decent aid package to those that were effected. It took days to get the 9/11 bills passed.

    It makes me sick that bush, brownie and chertoff to aren’t being held accountable for the governments failure on katrina.

  30. Everything John Kerry has been saying, has become true. Only if the media ethnically airs his messages out as consistently as he is giving them, Americans could be more acknowledgeable. A lot of times, I was puzzled by the reasons of why they put a lid on his messages. And believe me, it is very noticeable.

  31. And Prezident Nero strummed while New Orleans drowned? At least he wasn’t trying to finish “My Pet Goat.”

  32. That’s two good jobs, one for Brownie and one for AWOL.

  33. What appears to be sadly lacking in all of the analysis of the Katrina response is the apparent lack of knowledge of established response procedures by both high level administration officials and legislators of both parties. It must be understood that Lousiana Disaster Control Officials had the authority to make decisions about the handling of the flood survivors not FEMA officials. There has been no indication that the Louisiana officials ever handed over this authority to FEMA. It is wrongheaded to blame FEMA for action or lack of action that is not their responsibility and over which they have no authority. It is equally wrongheaded to think that a president cannot rely on those who are paid to concern themselves with hurricane response or any other federal function without having to run around the country like a one armed paper hanger trying to solve every problem that pops up. People like Kerry who think this way reveal their lack of managerial experience.