9/12/2005

Bush rejects race criticism in hurricane response - Yahoo! News

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) -
President George W. Bush on Monday denied the government was slow to respond to Hurricane Katrina because most of the victims were black and also said it was "preposterous" to claim the
Iraq war left insufficient troops to help with the disaster.

"My attitude is this: The storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort. When those Coast Guard choppers ... were pulling people off roofs, they didn't check the color of a person's skin. They wanted to save lives."

He also rejected some criticism that the military was stretched too thin because of the war in Iraq. He said it was "preposterous" to claim that the Iraq war resulted in insufficient troops to help out with the hurricane.

"We've got plenty of troops to do both," he said during a tour of the areas of the city ravaged by the hurricane.

Some U.S. black leaders have accused the Bush administration of reacting too slowly in New Orleans because many of the victims were poor and black.

Bush, whose job approval ratings have tumbled to the lowest of his presidency amid charges he was slow to respond to the hurricane, rode in an open, flatbed military truck through flooded streets of New Orleans after spending the night on a docked naval vessel, the Iwo Jima.

He saw damaged houses, downed trees and fetid, black and gray floodwaters.

"We've got a lot of work to do, a whole lot of work to do," said Bush, accompanied on his tour by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Bush rejects race criticism in hurricane response - Yahoo! News

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