CNN: President Bush 'Clueless' in Handling of Hurricane Katrina
There was more bad news for President Bush during the 4pm EDT hour of Monday's "The Situation Room." In two separate reports from Bill Schneider and Dana Bash, the President was labeled "clueless" on his handling of Hurricane Katrina and Democratic talking points on the subject were repeated yet again.
Schneider’s piece focused on the toll Hurricane Katrina took on President Bush’s poll numbers. CNN’s senior political analyst argued that the President took two hits from Katrina:
Bill Schneider: "President Bush’s self-declared image as a compassionate conservative also took a hit. The public saw a remote, even clueless, President after Katrina struck."
Using a sound bite from Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu to support his statement, Schneider argued that the other blow Katrina delivered to the President, "was to his image of strength and competence."
Schneider: "President Bush took two hits from Hurricane Katrina. One was to his image of strength and competence."
Senator Mary Landrieu: "It’s past time that we hold government officials accountable, not just for their policies, but for their follow-through and their competence."
Schneider’s piece never asked about the responsibility of the state or local governments during the Katrina response, except to shrug off this statement from President Bush:
President George W. Bush: "Federal, state and local governments were unprepared to respond to such an extraordinary disaster."
Schneider: "Sure, there’s lots of blame to be shared, but that doesn’t get President Bush off the hook."
Congressional correspondent Dana Bash’s report on the House Democrats’ trip to the Gulf Coast was mainly a rehashing of Democratic talking points on Katrina:
Bash: "We asked Democrats to name the single biggest event that altered their political fortunes against the Bush White House this election year and their answer is Katrina because, as Bill was just pointing out, it took the President’s biggest assets away from him, leadership, competence and the perception that he can keep Americans safe."
Bash reported that the Democrats were attacking the President’s trip to the region as a "photo op," while the Democrats were there to "talk about everything from health care to insurance with local residents there."
Substitute host John King asked Bash if the political debate over Katrina was taking place primarily within the Gulf Coast. Bash reported that the Democrats are using Katrina against Republicans across the country, and played a clip from a Wisconsin Democratic congressional candidate to further prove her point:
Bash: "You know, Green Bay, Wisconsin was nowhere near Katrina’s wake, but the Democratic congressional candidate there, Steve Kagan, is airing a TV ad right now talking about Katrina. Let’s listen."
[clip from campaign ad for Wisconsin Democratic congressional candidate Steve Kagan]: "Iraq. Katrina. FEMA. Port security. Poor judgment all the way around. It’s time for change in Washington."
Bash then read from a press release by the Democratic challenger to Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Curt Weldon:
Bash: "...The press release for an event his Democratic opponent is holding tomorrow asks this, ‘Do the people of this district want more of the same FEMA-style government or do they want a new direction in the way Congress handles the critical needs of the American people?’"
With media coverage like this, it is easy to see why Democrats appear confident in their ability to pick up seats in Congress this November.