9/23/2005

Bush to head to Colorado command as Hurricane Rita moves in - Yahoo! News

Fri Sep 23, 4:07 PM ET - WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush was to head to Colorado to monitor operations to respond to powerful Hurricane Rita, as it closed in on the Texas-Louisiana coast.

Bush had planned to visit San Antonio, Texas, to inspect "prepositioned assets" for hurricane victims but he scrubbed the Texas leg of his trip just minutes before his scheduled departure.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Texas leg was dropped because search and rescue teams Bush had planned to meet with in San Antonio were going to move to a location nearer to Rita's expected landfall.

"We didn't want to slow that down," McClellan said.

In Colorado, Bush is to tour the military's Northern Command headquarters to see how it was preparing for the storm with state and local authorities.

"Our job is to assist, prepare for and assist the state and local people to save lives and to help these people get back on their feet," Bush said.

Asked if he would be heading to the hurricane strike zone now, Bush said "NorthCom is the main entity that interfaces, that uses federal assets, federal troops to act with federal and state government.

"It's an important relationship and I need to know how it works better. We will make sure that my entourage does not get in the way of people doing their job, which will be search and rescue immediately."

Rita threatened Texas and Louisiana three weeks after Hurricane Katrina crushed the Gulf Coast August 29, killing more than 1,000 people.

Bush to head to Colorado command as Hurricane Rita moves in - Yahoo! News

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