In a harried, fast-moving interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had many words of praise for President Bush, while pointing much blame at Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco:
Nagin>> I got promises too. I can't stand any more promises. I don't want to hear any more promises. I want to see stuff done. That's why I'm so happy the president came down here because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. They were telling him things weren’t as bad as it was, he came down and saw it and he put a general on the field. His name is general Honore. When he hit the field, we started to see action. What the state was doing, I don't friggin' know but I tell you, I am pissed. It wasn't adequate. The president and the governor sat down. Air force one, I said, Mr. President, Madam governor, you two have to get in sync. If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die.
O’Brien>> What date was this?
N>> I don't know.
O>> When did you say that?
N>> Whenever air force one was here.
N>> And this is after I called him on the telephone two days earlier. And I said, Mr. President, madam governor, you two need to get together on the same page because the lack of coordination people are dying in my city.
That's two days ago? Easement I don't know the exact date. They both shook their head, said yeah. I said great. I said everybody in this room is getting ready to leave. There was senators and his cabinet people, you name it, they were there. Generals. I said everybody right now, we're leaving. These two people need to sit in a room together and make a doggone decision right now.
O>> Was that done?
N>> The president looked at me. I think he was a little surprised. He said, no, you guys stay here. We're going to another section of the plane and we're going to make a decision. He called me in that office after that and he said, Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor. I said -- I don't remember exactly what -- two options. I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision.
O>> You told me the president told you the governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision?
O>> Regarding what? Bringing troops?
N>> Whatever they had discussed. As far as what the -- I was advocating a clear chain of command. So that we could get resources flowing in the right places.
O>> The governor said no?
N>> She said she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left air force one, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn't happen. And more people died.