The White House announced today that President Bush will speak from Louisiana on primetime Thursday night before a national TV audience. The announcement indicates that Bush will offer at least his eighth photo-op since his slow response to Hurricane Katrina.
Photo Op #1: Air Force One Fly-Over
Newsweek reported, “Photographers rarely are allowed into the forward cabin of Air Force One, but consigliere Karl Rove and other aides summoned them so they could snap pictures of the Boss gazing out the window as the plane flew over the devastation. Republican strategists privately call the resulting image””Bush as tourist, seemingly powerless as he peered down at the chaos””perhaps among the most damaging of his presidency.”
Photo Op #2: Rose Garden address
Bush: “FEMA Director Mike Brown is in charge of all federal response and recovery efforts in the field”¦ This recovery will take a long time. This recovery will take years.” [8/31/05]
Photo Op #3: Bush introducing Bush I/Clinton Katrina Relief efforts
“A source tells Time that four days after Katrina struck, Bush himself briefed his father and former President Clinton in a way that left too rosy an impression of the progress made. ‘It bore no resemblance to what was actually happening,’ said someone familiar with the presentation.”
Photo Op #4: Good Morning America interview
Bush: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will.” [Good Morning America, 9/1/05]
Photo Op #5: Trip to Gulf Coast, Part I
Bush: “Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.” [Bush, 9/2/05]
Photo Op #6: Trip to Gulf Coast, Part II
“President George W. Bush, under fierce criticism for his government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, sought to reassure storm survivors on Monday as a veteran lawmaker complained that bureaucratic red tape was hampering relief efforts in Mississippi.”
Photo Op #7: Trip to Gulf Coast, Part III
“Bush’s third visit to the devastated region in nine days comes as he is struggling to assert his leadership after a calamity that has spawned bitter exchanges between local and federal officials. Meanwhile, Bush’s approval ratings have tumbled to new lows.”
Bush needs to spend less time posturing before the cameras and more time managing the hurricane recovery efforts.