Friday, October 26, 2007
BATON ROUGE --As the California wildfires continued to rage Thursday, so too did the political feud between President Bush and Gov. Kathleen Blanco that has smoldered since the federal government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina.
The latest flare-up came when Bush, while touring the California disaster area, took an apparent swipe at Blanco's post-Katrina leadership as he complimented California
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"It makes a significant difference when you have somebody in the statehouse willing to take the lead," Bush said, according to the Associated Press.
The president's statement, coming from a White House that seems determined to avoid a repeat in California of the public-relations disaster that followed Katrina, brought a swift response from Blanco.
In a statement forwarded by her press office, Blanco noted that it took federal forces nearly a week to arrive in Louisiana after the storm. "I was the only game in town, leading for nearly a week without the president's help," Blanco said.
"Of all the lessons learned from Katrina now being put into place in California, I would hope the one he would remember is that politics has no place in any disaster," she added, before taking a shot at the slow manner in which promised federal aid has been delivered.
"While the promise of help from Washington is being extended, Gov. Schwarzenegger will have to work hard to make it a reality. In the meantime, Louisiana stands by ready to help with anything they may need," she said.
Asked to compare the two disasters, Bush said it's a job better left to historians.