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Cheney quip adds fuel to Katrina politics


On Saturday, Vice President Dick Cheney became the latest high profile official to offer a soundbite about Hurricane Katrina, saying all evacuees he's met have been 'thankful,' adding to a spate of comments raising eyebrows regarding the Katrina disaster, RAW STORY has found.

According to Reuters, Cheney's words were in response to reporters' questions about what evacuees had had to say to the Vice President as he toured the Austin convention centre in the wake of the demotion of FEMA director Michael D. Brown, who initially had been in charge of the federal relief efforts:

"Not one of them mentioned any of it. They're all very thankful where they find themselves right now."


Straight off the bat, on September 1st, Department of Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff attempted to preemptively defend the Administration by blaming the victims:

"The critical thing was to get people out of [New Orleans] before the disaster. Some people chose not to obey that order. That was a mistake on their part."

The next day, in a similiar vein, FEMA Director Brown told CNN:

"... I think the death toll may go into the thousands. And unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the evacuation warnings. And I don't make judgments about why people choose not to evacuate. But you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there."

On September 5th, former First Lady Barbara Bush unwisely cracked about the Astrodome's Hurricane Katrina evacuees:

"What Iím hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality."

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

On Friday Raw Story reported that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was overheard by Houston Chronicle's Purva Patel as he talked to three boys living on cots in the Astrodome:

"The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"

Saturday's Washington Post carried an article entitled "Some GOP Legislators Hit Jarring Notes in Addressing Katrina" which contained yet another installment in the "insensitive" series:

"The latest elected official to step into the swamp was Rep. Richard H. Baker, a 10-term Republican from Baton Rouge. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that he was overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

In return, on Thursday, Vice President Cheney was greeted by a doctor who had lost his home in Mississippi, who declared: 'Go fuck yourself.'

Originally published on Saturday September 10, 2005.


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