Skip to comments.Blanco coolly greets Bush - Friction between state, federal government shows in visit
Posted on 09/06/2005 1:49:06 PM PDT by HAL9000
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour got a hug. Gov. Kathleen Blanco was lucky to get a hello.
The friction between state and federal officials has been brewing for the past few days and bubbled to the surface with President Bush's visit to Baton Rouge on Monday.
In fact, Blanco did not learn Bush was coming to Louisiana for the second time in three days until informed by an Advocate reporter late Sunday night.
The news prompted Blanco to scrap her plans to visit Houston on Monday with former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, her spokeswoman, Denise Bottcher, said. Blanco asked three of her daughters to fill in for her.
Meanwhile, the governor's staff spent much of the early morning hours securing an invitation from the White House for Blanco to accompany the president and his wife, Bottcher said. Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told The Associated Press that the White House reached out to Blanco's office Sunday, but didn't hear back, and White House staff in Louisiana spoke with Blanco early Monday.
Blanco met the presidential party at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, carrying a letter to Bush which showed she's not budging on the issue of federalizing local law enforcement and the state's National Guard, which the president had attempted to do Friday.
"I write to ask you to work with me in developing a long-term plan for the rebuilding of the Louisiana economy," Blanco says in the letter.
From the airport, Bush and Blanco went to visit hurricane evacuees at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, where the two leaders kept their distance.
Later that day, Bush flew to Mississippi, where he warmly greeted Barbour.
Waves of National Guard soldiers from other states help quell widespread looting in New Orleans and evacuate thousands stranded by rising flood waters. Their arrival also prompted debate over whether Bush or Blanco should coordinate their efforts, three elected officials said.
The Bush administration on Friday asked Blanco to give the president control of local law enforcement and the Louisiana National Guard that now answer to the governor. Blanco refused.
Blanco said, when asked about the issue of federalizing state troops, that the issue involves the hurricane recovery organizational structure, not how rescuers are deployed.
Blanco said she needs flexibility to run the Louisiana National Guard.
More National Guard soldiers are needed in "Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Shreveport ... all the parishes receiving people," she said.
U.S. Rep. Richard Baker said he didn't want to do any "Monday morning quarterbacking." That includes not weighing in on whether or not Blanco should relinquish more control to the federal government, he said.
Baker said the Bush administration's goal isn't malicious, but to facilitate a more immediate response on resources, such as getting planes loaded and landed.
State and local officials last week complained that the federal help didn't come fast enough, with bipartisan criticism leveled at Bush himself.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Metairie, said that during Bush's visit to New Orleans on Friday, Mayor Ray Nagin asked Bush and Blanco to hash out their differences. While on Air Force One, the president's plane, Bush and Blanco spoke privately.
"The rest of the delegation waited," Jindal said.
Later that day, Bush administration officials sent Blanco a legal memo seeking to federalize Louisiana law enforcement under the Insurrection Act, which is used to suppress civil disobedience that threatens to turn into anarchy. The act would clarify the chains of command of local, state and federal agencies with the president in charge.
Rather than cede control, Blanco on Saturday morning named James Lee Witt, who ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency under Clinton, to help run relief efforts.
In Bush's weekly radio address Saturday afternoon, he said the hurricane strained local and state capabilities, leading to people in New Orleans not getting the help they needed.
The next day, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu threatened to get violent.
"If one person criticizes them (local and state government) or says one more thing -- including the president of the United States -- he will hear from me," Landrieu said on the ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely have to punch him. Literally."
After Bush's visit to Baton Rouge on Monday, Landrieu said that state, local and federal officials are now essentially on the same page, working as a team.
"The governor's leadership and the president's leadership, pulling these things together is excellent," Landrieu said.
Bottcher, Blanco's spokeswoman, refused to make a copy of the memo public. Blanco's team spent much of the day detailing the events that unfolded during the weekend, provided that their names were not used.
Asked directly and on the record, Bottcher refused comment.
After Monday's meeting, Blanco said Bush is satisfied with the organizational structure. "We are partners in this effort," the governor said. "We are a team. I want to say it again. We are a team."
The White House announced the return visit on Saturday afternoon, and I posted that information here. Blanco is utterly incompetent.
Blanco screws up, blames it on Bush.
She should have just resigned before the hurricane hit, and done everyone a big favor.
" New Orleans's Mayor Ray Nagin is up for re-election in February 2006, Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in November 2007, and Sen. Mary Landrieu in November 2008. All four are Democrats. When they point the finger at the federal government for whatever went wrong in the Katrina response, remember that they are fighting for their political lives. "
WSJ nails it.
This woman has blood of thousands on her hands. She and her party are trying to smear the same blood onto Bush's hands. Isn't working. Truth has a funny little habit of surfacing eventually. Someone needs to tell the networks that their little Bush Bashing party is now over. Rush is back and he's ON IT.
This just proves that it's not Bush's fault. She's in control.
She's a bumbling fool who cost lives. However, no one could be more incompetent than that idiot Mayor of New Orleans. Intelligence is clearly not a requirement for election in their fair city. (Fairly gone city?)
In the back of my mind I have got to wonder if Blanco was in on some sort of - yes- conspiracy among the dems to embarrass Bush.
If the state really wanted to reach those people - they were there, on the spot. The feds didnt do a sparkling job on tues and wednesday - but once things got in gear and Horone was put in charge (a real man, not chertof or brownie. heh) - things got done.
9 to 1.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour got a hug. Gov. Kathleen Blanco was lucky to get a hello.
If I were the President, I would have thrown a rock at her. Fortunately, the President has a lot more class than she does.
she was planning to leave the state for some time until she was called on it because Bush was coming there.
Kathleen and the First Gent in Happier Times
Had her daughters fill in.
Therein lies the problem. Are they running a state or a racket? I vote racket. Still noone has answered the question why can't the parishes trust the state enough to have it handle their sales tax receipts? Does Ms. Blanco have an answer for this? It might go a long way toward explaining their state-wide (non)response to the crisis. This is one not together state. No wonder almost to a person the people in Texas are pleased to stay in Texas and not return to NO. Oh joy. I'm thinking Texas is due some serious recompense for their ability to avert a larger crisis. Dissolve Louisiana. Give everything south and east of Pochatrain to Mississippi and Texas can have the rest.
>>>Rush is back and he's ON IT.
Problem is that Rush only gets to a limited amount of people. MSM gets to a far wider scope of people.
"In fact, Blanco did not learn Bush was coming to Louisiana for the second time in three days until informed by an Advocate reporter late Sunday night. "
Apparently, Blanco did not also know a CAT 5 Hurricane was about to hit LA.
The only thing wrong with that is Rush is preaching to the choir. How do you get the message to the idiots out there that the mayor and gov really dropped the ball on this.
More censorship from the left.
They (the politicians) all have to be in a panic. Their constituents have all moved out and are completely dispersed. This must affect the political balance of the state. While many will return, the poor have less reason to return.
"Blanco said, when asked about the issue of federalizing state troops, that the issue involves the hurricane recovery organizational structure, not how rescuers are deployed."
She doesn't want disaster relief federalized because she would have less or no say in redevelopment moolah to come.
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