CBS Host: Is Perry Calling Border Crisis Obama's 'Katrina Moment' Just 'A Bunch of Bull'?

Talking to political director John Dickerson on Thursday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell tried to dismiss Texas Governor Rick Perry calling the current border crisis President Obama's "Katrina moment": "Is there some truth to that or is there, as we say in Texas, is that a bunch of bull?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Dickerson flippantly replied: "Well, you know, the Katrina moment since that disaster has gotten kind of thrown around, it's become something of a political cliche. I think this might be the President's maybe twentieth Katrina moment."

Neither O'Donnell nor Dickerson bothered to mention that Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar was the first to compare Obama's mishandling of the illegal immigration crisis to President Bush's 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina.

Continuing to downplay the comparison, Dickerson added: "So the question is, is it a legitimate challenge to his management style, a humanitarian crisis that echos that natural disaster, or is this just another kind of momentary spike crisis that voters will move on from in a couple of weeks if it's dealt with?"

O'Donnell followed up by even trying to blame Bush for the crisis: "I mean, was this the administration ignoring a problem that has been building over the past couple of years? Or is this, in part, the result of a Bush-era law in 2008 that was intended to curb human trafficking allowed some of this to occur?"

Dickerson went further, suggesting Perry himself was to blame:

The question is here, what drew this? Is it that 2008 law that you mentioned? Is it the President's limiting deportation of the children of undocumented workers, that executive action that he took?....What draws people across the border? Even Governor Perry's been attacked on that point when he ran for president in 2012. Did his policies in Texas have a magnet effect? And that now is going to be a part of the immigration debate.

On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie tried to pin responsibility for the border chaos on congressional Republicans opposed to Democratic immigration reform legislation.


Here is a full transcript of the July 10 exchange:

7:05 AM ET

NORAH O'DONNELL: The recent flood of immigrants could have lasting political implications. CBS News political director John Dickerson is with us in Washington. John, a lot to talk about. But first, you heard Governor Rick Perry comparing this – saying this is Obama's "Katrina moment." Is there some truth to that or is there, as we say in Texas, is that a bunch of bull?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Dividing Lines; Dickerson On Pres. Obama's Meeting With Gov. Perry]

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, you know, the Katrina moment since that disaster has gotten kind of thrown around, it's become something of a political cliche. I think this might be the President's maybe twentieth Katrina moment. So the question is, is it a legitimate challenge to his management style, a humanitarian crisis that echos that natural disaster, or is this just another kind of momentary spike crisis that voters will move on from in a couple of weeks if it's dealt with?

O'DONNELL: I guess the question I have, is this, as Governor Perry says, the President's own making? I mean, was this the administration ignoring a problem that has been building over the past couple of years? Or is this, in part, the result of a Bush-era law in 2008 that was intended to curb human trafficking allowed some of this to occur?

DICKERSON: Well, that's the difficult policy argument here. I mean, certainly Governor Perry is on strong ground when he points to his own letter and his own warnings that have been going on for some number of years now about this growing problem at the border. So he's on firm ground on that.

[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: President Obama's Handling of Immigration; Approve 31%, Disapprove 65%; Source: Gallup Poll, June 5-8]

The question is here, what drew this? Is it that 2008 law that you mentioned? Is it the President's limiting deportation of the children of undocumented workers, that executive action that he took? The interesting policy question here is there's been a long debate about magnets. What draws people across the border? Even Governor Perry's been attacked on that point when he ran for president in 2012. Did his policies in Texas have a magnet effect? And that now is going to be a part of the immigration debate.

JEFF GLOR: John, it's Jeff. Does this entire situation make immigration reform more likely or less likely right now?

DICKERSON: Well, I think probably less likely because the opponents to immigration reform have been attacked by Democrats saying, "Well, you just don't like, you know, people that are coming across the border." What they now can say is, "Look, even if you have good intentions, as that 2008 law did, there can be unintended complications that can happen.

GLOR: John Dickerson, thank you very much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC