Bob Schieffer Likens H1N1 Flu Vaccine Shortages To Hurricane Katrina

This summer, the Obama administration announced that it would spend more than $2 billion to buy enough H1N1 flu vaccines to inoculate every American and said that companies could have up to 80 million ready by October. But only a fraction of those vaccines have been produced so far. “[W]e probably did overpromise, and we overpromised on the basis of what was represented to us” by the manufacturers, senior White House adviser David Axelrod said this week.

Some conservatives are now calling the mishap “Obama’s Katrina.” Today in an interview with Axelrod on CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer advanced that view:

SCHIEFFER: What do you do to correct this kind of thing? You’re told one thing, you’d have so much and you didn’t. These are the kinds of things we heard after Katrina during a previous administration.

NPR’s Juan Williams noted the huge distinction between the two situations on Fox News Sunday this morning:

WILLIAMS: I must say that there’s a huge difference between Hurricane Katrina in government failure and what we’re seeing here in terms of delivery of the vaccine. This is a matter of private manufacturers not living up to promises in terms of the delivery system. …But I don’t think most Americans are blaming the Obama administration for this as they blamed, as they said that President Bush’s administration failed to properly understand or pay attention to what FEMA was not doing with regard to helping Americans with Katrina.

Watch it:

Indeed, Williams is right, Americans aren’t blaming the Obama administration. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, “69 percent of respondents said they were confident in a federal response to the outbreak.”

Even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer acquitted the Obama administration of responsibility over the vaccine shortages today on Inside Washington. “I would be inclined to blaming this all on Obama but I rise in his defense because…this stuff is extremely hard to do safely, it’s a long process. … I would give him a pass in terms of assigning political blame,” he said.