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Commentary: Bush can't see failure of Katrina response

  • Story Highlights
  • Campbell Brown: Bush defended many decisions at Monday news conference
  • Brown: Bush disconnected from what really happened with Hurricane Katrina
  • Brown: People will disagree over aspects of the Bush legacy, but not Katrina
  • Brown: Katrina response was catastrophe that America watched on TV
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Editor's note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN's "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the "Cutting through the Bull" segment of Monday night's broadcast.

Campbell Brown says President Bush can't seem to see the failure of his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Campbell Brown says President Bush can't seem to see the failure of his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

(CNN) -- Much of President Bush's news conference today was a defense of the many controversial decisions of his presidency, it was also reflective, with the president showing a willingness to admit and talk about the serious mistakes made by this administration.

But on one topic in particular, he seemed almost entirely disconnected from what really happened: Hurricane Katrina. As someone who spent many days in New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina, I was taken aback listening to the president talk about the government's response.

President Bush:

"People said, 'Well, the federal response was slow.' Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. I remember going to see those helicopter drivers, Coast Guard drivers, to thank them for their courageous efforts to rescue people off roofs. Thirty-thousand people were pulled off roofs right after the storm moved through. It's a pretty quick response. Could things have been done better? Absolutely. Absolutely. But when I hear people say, the federal response was slow, then what are they going to say to those chopper drivers, or the 30,000 that got pulled off the roofs?"

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It is impossible to challenge what so many of us witnessed firsthand -- what the entire country witnessed through television day and night: New Orleans was a city for a time abandoned by the government; where people old and young were left at the New Orleans convention center for days with no water or food.

People will disagree over aspects of the Bush legacy, but on the government's handling of Katrina?

We were there.Video Watch Campbell Brown's reaction to President Bush's news conference »

The whole country saw what happened. People stuck on roofs were one part of a massive catastrophe. But there was so much else the government didn't do. To this day that city is fighting for its life.

Mr. President, you cannot pat yourself on the back for that one.

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We will debate the war in Iraq, national security, the economy and the rest of your legacy. Those debates will continue for years to come. But on how you handled Katrina, there is no debate.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Campbell Brown.

All About George W. BushHurricane Katrina

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