CNN Pushes Democrat Kansas Governor’s Iraq-Ruined-Tornado-Recovery Line

Update below (May 8, 12:52 EDT)

Late Sunday evening, the AP reported Governor Kathleen Sebelius' (D-Kan.) opinion that recovery efforts from the devastating tornado that struck the town of Greensburg, Kansas "will be hampered because some much-needed equipment is in Iraq."

This morning, co-host John Roberts interviewed Sebelius on "American Morning." In one of his questions, Roberts gave the governor an opportunity to repeat her opinion on the National Guard equipment from Kansas that was sent to Iraq. "You have illuminated a problem that you've got here, in terms of the National Guard's ability to be able to react to this crisis because of the Iraq war. What's going on?"

Roberts, reporting live from Greensburg, also asked the governor some standard questions about the recovery efforts, and help that Kansas may receive from other states. However, Roberts did not ask the governor whether her adminstration had tried to compensate for the loss of the National Guard equipment in making emergency preparedness plans.

Unlike the AP, which had failed to identify Sebelius's party affiliation, Roberts clearly identified Sebelius as the "chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Conference."

What follows is the relevant part of the transcript of Roberts's interview with Gov. Sebelius:

JOHN ROBERTS: Kathleen Sebelius is the governor of Kansas. She's also the chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Conference. She has been looking after the disaster here in Greensburg since it happened on Friday night. She joins us now live. Can you update us? Where are we on search and rescue efforts? When do you switch form search and rescue into cleanup operations?

GOV. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (D), KANSAS: Well, cleanup had to begin almost right away, so we can get the roads clear for people to come back. Starting at 8:00 this morning, the residents are going to be allowed back in. And many of them have not seen this in the daylight, and they're in for...

ROBERTS: It's something to see.

SEBELIUS: ... a shock....

ROBERTS: We spoke with your adjutant general, Major General Bunting, a little while ago. You have illuminated a problem that you've got here, in terms of the National Guard's ability to be able to react to this crisis because of the Iraq war. What's going on?

SEBELIUS: Well, states all over the country are not only missing personnel, National Guard troops are -- about 40 percent of the troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan -- but we're missing the equipment. When the troops get deployed, the equipment goes with them. So, here in Kansas, about 50 percent of our trucks are gone. We need trucks. We're missing Humvees. We're missing all kinds of equipment that can help us respond to this kind of emergency.

ROBERTS: So how is that going to hamper efforts both in the recovery and the rebuilding?

SEBELIUS: Well, as you travel around Greensburg, you'll see that the city and county trucks were destroyed. They -- the storm hit them, as well as anything...

ROBERTS: Fire trucks and everything is gone.

SEBELIUS: So we're borrowing equipment from around, but National Guard are our first responders. They don't have the equipment they need to come in. And it will just make it that much slower.

ROBERTS: Have you asked for help from other states?

SEBELIUS: We are reaching out to other states, and a lot of offers are coming in. What we are going to establish is sort of a virtual inventory, so that people can put on our inventory what they have. And as we need it, we'll put it down.

ROBERTS: We heard a couple of the federal politicians say over the weekend that this is not going to be another Katrina. That you're going to make sure that everybody stays focused on Greensburg to the point that it can actually recover and rebuild. How are you going to do that?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think we've got a great opportunity. Kansans are resilient, first of all. Folks are already talking about, 'How fast can I come back in? Where can I live while I rebuild, put up my business?' State assistance, federal assistance is on its way, but, also, I think, we have an opportunity to rebuild an entire rural community. I think eyes of America are on us, and I'm going to ask for help and support from everybody who believes that rural America needs to thrive and survive. We got a shock here.

Update (Ken Shepherd | May 8, 12:52 EDT):

Human Events is reporting that Gov. Sebelius has not asked for any assistance from the neighboring state of Missouri:

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius (D) who has been saying National Guard assets don't exist in other states to help Greensburg disaster victims hasn't even asked for them yet, according to National Guard sources statements to HUMAN EVENTS today.

On NBC's “Today Show" Gov. Sibelius said "Fifty percent of the equipment is gone and we can't borrow from other states because their equipment is gone."

H.E. spoke with Cpt. Spicer of the Missouri National Guard to inquire how much help Missouri would be able to provide. Cpt. Spicer answered that “We have not been asked for help.”

We asked Cpt. Spicer if Gov. Sibelius was to ask the Missouri National Guard for assistance, would they be able to help?

“Whenever we are asked for help we do our best to provide it, for instance when Louisiana needed help we sent 2000 soldiers and airmen in, in a period of 72 hours.”

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center