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Sean Hannity Complains “Phony” Katrina Hearings Are A “Waste Of Taxpayer Dollars”

Reported by Ellen - February 11, 2006

On last night’s (2/10/06) Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity blew a lot of smoke in an almost pathetic attempt to deflect attention away from the sworn testimony of former FEMA Director Michael Brown blaming the White House and Department of Homeland Security for the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina.

Testifying to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday, Brown said he warned White House officials, including Chief of Staff Andrew Card, “We were realizing our worst nightmare” on August 29, the day Katrina hit shore.

According to AP,

(Brown said) "I expected them to cut every piece of red tape, do everything they could ... that I didn't want to hear anybody say that we couldn't do everything they humanly could to respond to this," Brown said about a video conference with administration officials - in which President Bush briefly participated - the day before Katrina hit. "Because I knew in my gut this was the bad one."

… Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said he did not know that New Orleans' levees were breached until Aug. 30. Bush at the time said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Although Hannity finally admitted (for the first time that I can recall) that the federal government “did make mistakes,” he very quickly tried to deflect attention away from the Bush Administration and on to any Democrat he could think of. Speaking to Democratic Strategist Bob Beckel, Hannity asked, “You know what bothers me the most?”

Anyone who has ever seen Hannity bothered about anything would have known right away that it was going to be all about blaming the Democrats. And anyone who has ever seen Hannity discuss Hurricane Katrina would have known that it was going to be about the empty buses that Hannity persistently over counts and overestimates as a potential evacuation tool. “1,000 buses sat empty, they had five days warning and the (Democratic) mayor and the (Democratic) governor knew what the catastrophe could be because it had been discussed for 35+ years. I blame them more than the federal government.”

For a change, Beckel found some real Democratic strategy when he responded, “The facts are FEMA – the White House knew the day of the breach of this levy while George Bush vacationed and George Bush knew – you can try to get around this all you want.”

Hannity the pot called Beckel black by complaining, “You guys are a broken record.”

“Can you just for once take a look at what the facts are?

Hannity said, “The lesson is don’t count on the government for anything!” Comment: Unless you can blame the Democrats.

Beckel answered, “Don’t count on the Bush Administration for doing the job they should have done… They knew the day that that levy broke and the president of the United States did nothing but stay on vacation.”

Hannity, with no other way to defend the president, found another avenue of attack - this time against Nagin for his “chocolate city” comments. Meanwhile, the FOX FACTS on the screen said, “Lautenberg: All fingers point to the White House.” Hannity added that if he was the mayor of New Orleans and he knew that a disaster like this was coming for 5 days that “I would have picked up the keys to the bus myself and I would have gotten a thousand friends of mine and I would have driven the buses into the neighborhoods where they most needed help and collect people and bring ‘em out. Why didn’t they do that?”

Interestingly, I saw Nagin recently state that not using the buses was one thing he regretted. What has Bush said he regretted?

Ron Christie, the sophomoric author of Black in the White House, also had no defense for Bush other than to attack someone else. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. I think there are those on the left and those in the Democratic Party who want to blame Hurricane Katrina on President Bush. Let us not forget this was an act of God … it was relatively foreseeable. There were breakdowns at the state level, there were breakdowns at the local level. There were more people who had more responsibility for the recovery, responsibility for the planning and the response to this and they did not do their job.”

When it was Alan Colmes’ turn, he recited the timeline of Governor Blanco’s declaration of a State of Emergency on 8/27, the failure of the levees the next day, Michael Chertoff saying he didn’t know about that until 8/30 and President Bush saying on September 1 that he didn’t think anybody anticipated the breach. “Where’s the responsibility here?”

Christie made the laughable statement that Republicans always take responsibility for “their leadership and for making sure that they put forth pro-active policies.” Comment: And they try to blame someone else for everything that might make them look bad.

Christie was so set on blaming anyone but Bush that he was willing to contradict himself in the process. Apparently forgetting that he had just said the hurricane was "relatively foreseeable," he now asserted the level of catastrophe and the amount of damage were “unforeseeable.”

Beckel in a refreshing display of tenacity actually called Christie on the contradiction of calling the disaster both foreseeable and unforeseeable. Christie, denying what he had clearly just done, took a cheap shot. He blamed Beckel for not listening and said, “This is the typical liberal way.”

Hannity broke in to end the segment with another attack. Referring back to something Beckel said about David Duke being part of the Republican Party, Hannity said, “The difference between the Republican Party? We threw Duke out of the party. You guys elected the former Klansman, Robert Byrd. You guys have that on our conscience. We threw that guy out of our party.”

And which issue resonates more with African Americans?

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