President Tours the Crescent City After the Storm
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 2:24 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2005
NEW ORLEANS -- President Bush got his first good look at the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina yesterday.
Wearing a necklace of brightly colored beads and a headdress made from ostrich feathers, the Commander in Chief did an impromptu second-line shuffle while riding down Bourbon Street in the back of a US Army half-track.
“Woo-wee, par-tay!” cried Bush. “I love NOLA! Where are all the hotties?”
Informed by aides the city’s annual Mardi Gras celebration would not take place for several months — if it happens at all -- the president adopted a more sober tone.
“Laura and I feel deeply for the people of the entire gulf coast,” Mr. Bush said in a press conference following the tour. “That’s why I sacrificed nearly two full days of my five-week vacation to fly over the area in Air Force One.”
The president was asked why it took four days for the federal government to respond, despite televised images of African American residents stranded on rooftops without food or water. Mr. Bush denied the delay was racially motivated.
“We did not discriminate against black people in our rescue efforts,” he said. “I mean, it’s not like these people were out there trying to vote.”
Bush said his administration “treated the situation in New Orleans the same way we treated the hunt for Osama Bin Laden or securing Iraq after the invasion.... by applying the fewest possible resources long after they’re truly needed. It’s what we like to call Federalism.”
In his remarks President Bush repeatedly invoked the attacks of 9/11, and said his administration would be expanding the war on terrorism to include weather.
“We must put an end to terrorists who use storms like Katrina to destroy our beloved freedoms,” Bush declared. “They can rain, but they cannot hail.”