Chertoff made the announcement at a brief, hastily announced press conference in Baton Rouge, La., with Brown at his side. He would not let Brown respond to questions.Why have him present if he's not allowed to speak?
Oh, I see why. Chertoff seems to be quite capable of managing the P.R. effort on his own:
Asked whether the shift was "the first step" toward Brown's resignation-a question that was also directed to Brown-and how Brown responded to the reports about his resume, Chertoff, assuming the stern manner of an appeals court judge-a position he formerly held-responded curtly:How dare a reporter pose a question to the FEMA Director, who retains that position yet whose tenure is clearly an issue? And who is present at a nationally televised briefing? If you're going to muzzle him, don't put him out front standing next to you.
"Here are the ground rules: I'm going to answer the questions. I've explained what we're doing. I thought I was about as clear as I possibly could be in English as to what I'm doing and why I'm doing it."
So the Homeland Security chief tells reporters what kinds of questions they can ask - to whom they may be directed.
The inept public face of the Bush administration in the wake of Katrina rears its head once again...