Sunday, December 11, 2005

More details on the Rove effect on Katrina aftermath

More details here, Politics delayed troops dispatch to N.O., on the political fights in the wake of the Katrina disaster as Governor Blanco prepares to testify this week in Washington. This is a thorough piece, and here's a key excerpt:
The documents show that the White House delayed its decision to deploy federal troops while it pressured the nation's senior National Guard official to persuade Blanco to accept the president's hand-picked commander to run the entire response effort.

The records also reveal a Democratic administration in Baton Rouge seized with anxiety that the media, swayed by a Republican spin machine, would make it appear that the relief effort would improve overnight if the president took control, and that Blanco was dragging her feet to invite federal help.

"The (White House) spin is that this (is) state and local fault," Blanco Chief of Staff Andy Kopplin e-mailed to Blanco's top aides on Sept. 4.

Any paranoia that Blanco officials might have had about a GOP agenda was fed by phone calls and e-mail messages from national media and other sources. For example, an ABC News reporter wrote Blanco's press secretary, "2 senior GOP aides have called me to suggest we should be focusing more blame on Governor Blanco." A New York Times reporter wrote an e-mail message saying, "Several officials in Washington are asserting that the Federal Government should have assumed control of the overall operation . . . As it would have meant, they suggested, better coordination of the response."

An e-mail message between Blanco aides said a prominent New Orleans banker "called . . . this morning and has it on very good authority that (White House strategist) Karl Rove is directing effort to put blame on kbb (governor) for mess saying that the reason feds not on ground sooner was that she refused to give up her authority."
Amazing the way name keeps popping up, isn't it?