A recently-released videotape shows Bush failed to respond to urgent warnings about Hurricane Katrina. The Washington Post describes the scene: “Bush was dialed into the conference Sunday at noon Eastern time from a meeting room at his ranch in Crawford.”
Though President Bush has famously spent a great deal of his presidency vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, the White House has always maintained that he is not distracted when he is down there.
MCCLELLAN: I don’t think the president of the United States ever gets a break. … I mean, it’s always been an opportunity for him to go home and spend some time at home. But it’s also a time when he continues to focus on the important priorities of the American people, when he continues to focus on fulfilling his responsibilities. [Press Briefing, 8/1/03]
Bush was warned about two of the most important, and catastrophic, events in his presidency — 9/11 and Katrina — while he vacationed in Crawford. And a comparison of the two events shows a disturbingly familiar pattern of Bush being distracted from his duty to protect the American people.
Bush Is Warned
Bush Fails To Respond
9/11: “[T]he president had received an intelligence briefing — the contents of which were declassified by the White House Saturday night — warning ‘Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.’ But Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday.”
KATRINA: “Bush did not ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured state officials: ‘We are fully prepared.’”
After Catastrophe Occurs, White House Covers Up What It Knew
9/11: “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile,” said national security adviser Condoleeza Rice on May 16, 2002.
KATRINA: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”
Truth Is Revealed