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John Gibson repeats myth that Governor Blanco refused federal assistance

Reported by Chrish - September 14, 2005

John Gibson's "My Word" segment repeats the lie that LA Governor Kathleen Blanco refused help from federal agencies and provides cover for Bush, even as he denies doing so.

The water is going down in New Orleans and they are recovering and counting the dead. The numbers are shockingly high — over 400 — even though that number is considerably below the near hysterical prediction from the mayor that there would be 10,000 dead.

There will be relief at first that the number appears to be low and then the reality will set in. Those 45 who died in the hospital have to be explained. The 23 who lashed themselves to a rope and tried to walk out in the flood will have to be explained. And as you've heard, some people are being charged for 34 deaths in a nursing home.

Question: who is to be most embarrassed by all this? Obviously the president is teed up. After all, when the French president presided over the deaths of 15,000 elderly in Paris in a heat wave, he took the international derision, not the mayor of Paris.

But there is the question of what you expect a president to do. Generally, the president of the United States has the role of backstop for the governor and the mayor. He is supposed to render aid, and he is empowered to ask the governor for the right to take over the National Guard and take over the whole rescue operation.

Evidently, the governor in Louisiana was asked by the president and she refused to relinquish that control.

That suggests that she thought she could handle it. It also suggests she should answer the question about all those who died.

It also suggests the mayor had an obligation to have a plan that would have focused on the most helpless in New Orleans and would have pushed help through the storm to them in order to get them out. That didn't happen.

I'm not just blowing smoke for the president.
He bears the responsibility for what didn't happen when the feds were supposed to be on the scene. He fired his FEMA director. He has marshaled admirals and generals to mobilize the troops into the disaster zone. The president did take the blame Tuesday for what didn't go right on the federal level and he should.

But everybody should be on notice after the experience of New Orleans that their governor and their mayor are in charge of the first rescue response and everybody should hold their governor and their mayor responsible. We should consider ourselves warned. That's my word.

Comment: John, John, John. This has been SO discussed and vetted. I send you to Alternet.org to help you clear up all those right-wing lies you have heard so much. Pay particular attention to items #6 and #7. Print it out and keep it handy.

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