RUSH: President Bush said he takes responsibility for the federal government’s failure in responding to Hurricane Katrina. He said Katrina, “exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” He said this just before noon in his joint news conference with the Iraqi president Jalal Talibani. Bush said he “wants to know what went right, what went wrong so that he can determine whether the US is prepared for another storm or an attack.”
“I’m not going to defend the process going in but I’m going to defend the people who are on the front line of saving lives.”
Now, there’s a reason for doing this. One is, stanch the bleeding. The pictures are out there. It would be silly to argue — this is frustrating, I know — It would be silly to argue, “Hey, wait, FEMA was there earlier than they were in other hurricanes. FEMA did this; FEMA did that?” Well, the pictures don’t tell that story and you’ve got to deal with the reality that we are a picture-driven society and the pictures tell a story that nobody was there helping people. All the little details are a bit too esoteric to portray on a mass basis and sway public opinion on this. For example, the Red Cross could say, “Hey, we were ready to go to the Superdome and the Convention Center. We had pallets of water. We had all kinds of food, but Louisiana state government wouldn’t let us go anywhere near there because they didn’t want the Superdome or the Convention Center to become a magnet for more people. We were trying to get them out.” Okay, you can say that all day long but there’s no picture of that. So this is to stanch the bleeding, and tit makes sense to me that Bush is doing this. It’s not going to buy him anything with critics, but it will help alleviate some disconcertedness in the general public over this.
By the same token you could compare the president taking responsibility for this to the aftermath of the Waco invasion. Does anybody remember what happened in the aftermath of the Waco invasion? “Mr. President, are you responsible for?”
[Clinton voice] “Ha-ha-ha! I think you better go talk to attorney general about that. I was out of the loop on this. I think Janet Reno is who you need to ask about what happened at that Waco thing.” What this is going to also cause? A little prediction here. “Okay, Mr. President, you’ve finally taken responsibility for the screw-up in New Orleans. Are you willing to take responsibility for the screw-up in Iraq?” You know the way the left operates: “Okay, we got him to admit one, now let’s go for gold! Let’s get him to admit every screw-up he’s ever made, and if he won’t admit it, then we’ll keep badgering him and so forth and in essence give him no credit for taking responsibility for this.” Those are my predictions. We’ll see how long it takes for me to be proven right.
RUSH: This is too funny. You just have to laugh at it. CNN has a story, of course, on the president taking responsibility, and I think you can get this by going to CNN.com. That’s what I did, and up there in the address bar, it reads out “www.CNN.com/hellfreezesover.” That’s how they have slugged their main page containing this story that Bush “takes responsibility for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.” Greetings, welcome back, Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network, still a lot to do in this hour.
So I’m going to be talking fast. That means you need to listen fast. Telephone number, 800-282-2882. E-mail address is Rush@EIBnet.com.
Here’s the president at a joint press conference this morning with the Iraqi president, Jalal Talibani. An unidentified reporter says, “Mr. President, given what happened with Katrina, shouldn’t Americans be concerned that their government isn’t prepared to respond to another disaster or even a terrorist attack?”
THE PRESIDENT: Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong. I want to know how to better cooperate with state and local government, to be able to answer that very question that you asked: Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack or another severe storm? And it’s a very important question, and it’s in our national interests that we find out exactly what went wrong so that we can better respond.
RUSH: So I think some people on our side of the aisle are going to be happy he did this to try to end some of the partisanship over this and just get to the meat and potatoes of it and actually fix things rather than pointing fingers of blame. Look, I don’t think the president did this to gain favor with the left in this instance. I think he’s being serious and genuine on this. You can’t look at the pictures and say, “Hey, everything went fine,” and it would serve no purpose for the guy at the top to start fingering the people down lower on the chain even at the city and state level in Louisiana. But he did say “government at all levels, and to the extent the federal government didn’t fully do its job, I take responsibility.” So remains to be seen what this does to reaction in the media and on the left, although I think it’s fairly predictable.
The only question is, when will it happen, or how long will it take to get ginned up? But I think this will be followed by, “Well, okay, now you’re going to apologize for the mistakes in Iraq. Are you going to take responsibility for that? Are you going to take responsibility for this and this and this and this and this and this?” Rather than be appeased by it, they’ll take it as they do every admission and try to capitalize on it. So just a question of when.
But he did say that, and again its funny on the CNN page, it’s CNN.com/hellfreezesover which, of course, the meaning is, “My gosh, hell is frozen over. Bush actually took responsibility for something.” I mean, they wouldn’t put it up there if they didn’t want people like me to notice it. Let me hit reload and see if they’ve changed it, folks. Hang on just a second. Nope, still says it, if you want to go there. Yeah, it’s the CNN.com home page, www.CNN.com, hit “enter,” and, bammo! You’ll see it ends up with the words “hell freezes over.”