Does President Bush resemble Adolf Hitler and Satan? That seemed to be the implication during the 9am half hour of CNN's American Morning. A protester wearing a George W. Bush mask, complete with a colored in Hitler-esque mustache and red horns attached to the forehead was deemed a Bush "look-alike" by reporter Susan Roesgen. In her report on how the bureaucracy at FEMA is delaying federal funds for rebuilding New Orleans, Roesgen highlighted a group of female Catholic school students demonstrating for money to repair the city's levees. The students, as Roesgen noted, "hoped the President would stop by" the protest. It was then that the demonstrator wearing the Bush mask was highlighted on camera, while Roesgen narrated, "But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." The "wad of cash" in the demonstrator's hand was actually several phony dollar bills mocking the Bush administration.
Susan Roesgen: "City officials aren’t the only ones wondering when federal money will materialize. Catholic school girls marched on Jackson Square. They and their teachers say more money is needed to fix the levees, and they hoped the President would stop by after his meeting with business leaders. But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." Real Player or Windows Media
A transcript of the full report follows below.
Miles O’Brien: "President Bush once again telling folks in New Orleans, hey, we’ve got your back, we’re here for you, we’ll help you rebuild. But our Susan Roesgen finds some city officials and residents are not happy. All the federal help, all that federal help in the way of greenbacks, not there."
Susan Roesgen: "When President Bush stood in New Orleans’ Jackson Square on September 15th, it was as if the cavalry had come to the rescue."
President George W. Bush: "We will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."
Roesgen: "With that, New Orleanians assumed that however rough the future might be, at least the city would have the cash it needed to recover. But a top city official says the city is broke and hasn’t gotten any federal money for more than three months."
Greg Meffert, New Orleans, Chief Technology Officer: "You’re just kind of stunned in some of these meetings, because you’re like, well, wait a minute now, you know, you know the White House wants this. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know the mayor wants it. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And even the, the governor’s saying yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, well, we’re working on it. Well, working on it doesn’t, doesn’t build me a police station."
Roesgen: "Greg Meffert blames FEMA bureaucracy for holding up $600 million the city needs to stay afloat."
Meffert: "They’re going to just do their thing. And I don’t care if there’s a thousand people waiting outside, or one person waiting outside, or a million. I go to form five and then I put this here in triplicate, and I move it over here. And this is what I do, and it’s what I’ve been doing for twenty years. And, you know, we be here before you came, and we’re–we be here after you came. And, you know, that’s the way it is."
Roesgen: "City officials aren’t the only ones wondering when federal money will materialize. Catholic school girls marched on Jackson Square. They and their teachers say more money is needed to fix the levees, and they hoped the President would stop by after his meeting with business leaders. But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not. Greg Meffert says he shared the city’s frustration with the President."
Meffert: "I’m frustrated on behalf of the city. And here’s the President of the United States, who’s frustrated that the money’s not going down. And you’re like, wait a minute, if the President agrees and the mayor agrees and everyone on camera’s agreeing, why is this money not moving?"
Roesgen: "FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews says, ‘Because these projects typically request millions of taxpayer dollars, there is paperwork involved to ensure that the funds will be spent appropriately. However, once the request is received, the average turnaround time for FEMA to fund public projects is 14.5 days.’ That’s just two weeks, but the city’s been waiting for it’s money for nearly four months."
Meffert: "After a while, you start to wonder, man, is this, is this the plan or something? You know? I mean, do you really want us to come back or not?"