Louisiana Governor's August 28 Plea For Help
Members of Team Bush, including the president himself, have been telling anyone who will listen that the New Orleans, post-hurricane tragedy was brought on by inaction on the part of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and local officials. The gang at Hypocrites r' Us, The Republican Superstore, doesn't seem to notice that they do this at the same time they are accusing Democrats of “finger-pointing” and “blame-gaming.”
The Bush administration has for days been dodging legitimate criticism by claiming they “had no way of knowing..." how bad things might get and flat-out lying by saying that Federal help would have come more quickly "If the state and local officials would have made formal requests sooner...."
You may lie, Mr. President, but the record does not.
Governor Blanco sent George W. Bush an emergency message in Crawford on Sunday, August 28, two days before the hurricane struck, specifically requesting emergency aid. This was two days after she declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on August 26.
But the real smoking gun is this document, Blanco's formal Disaster Relief Request to Bush for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which was also sent on August 28.
In it, Blanco says:
“I request that you declare an expedited major disaster for the State of Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina , a Category V Hurricane, approaches out coast south of New Orleans beginning August 28, 2005 and continuing.... I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that supplemental Federal assistance will be necessary.”I don't even know if anyone in the Bush administration showed this to the president, as they may not have wanted to interrupt his guitar-playing and cake-cutting in Arizona. Knowing this crew, it's possible Bush didn't even see Blanco's plea for help until he finally decided that the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history might require him to return to Washington – which he finally did on Wednesday, August 31.
So, it turns out Louisiana did indeed ask for help way in advance. There was just nobody in the White House listening.