Skip to comments.Obama Lashes Bush For 'Breaking His Promise' To New Orleans
Posted on 01/30/2007 4:19:04 PM PST by blam
Obama lashes Bush for 'breaking his promises' to New Orleans
By Alex Massie in Washington
Last Updated: 2:01am GMT 30/01/2007
Barack Obama, the Democrat presidential hopeful, used a visit to New Orleans yesterday to contrast President George W Bush's stubborn determination to persevere in Iraq, and his apparent unwillingness to do the same in the rebuilding of the hurricane-hit city.
During a special hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in the city, Mr Obama said the President had broken his promises to the people of Louisiana by failing to do more to rebuild the city after it was hit by Katrina 18 months ago with the loss of at least 1,695 lives.
"In the weeks after Katrina, an ashamed nation looked at what had been allowed to happen here and said 'Never again. Never will we turn our backs on these people. Never will we forget what happened here'," he said.
"The President came down and said, 'We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives'.
"Just 18 months later, we heard not one word not one word in the President's State of the Union address about New Orleans," Mr Obama noted. "And so I have one more set of questions to ask today: 'Are we willing to do whatever it takes? To stay as long as it takes? Are we in danger of forgetting about New Orleans?' "
The city's fate has become a leitmotif for Democrats seeking their party's presidential nomination. Democrats suggest that the federal government's sluggish response to the disaster symbolises Republican incompetence and indifference in equal measure.
Democrats argue that rebuilding the ruined city is an essential litmus test for the administration and that the failure to make swifter progress demonstrates a failure of national will.
"I hope we get some answers to the questions today because rebuilding the city of New Orleans is not just good for the Gulf Coast or the state of Louisiana, it's good for our nation," said Mr Obama. He questioned whether the federal government was doing its part to help New Orleans rebuild.
He noted plans to raze several low-income housing developments, adding that "I haven't seen concrete plans to meet the long-term housing needs of all the displaced people in New Orleans".
Mr Obama and Hillary Clinton, his rival for nomination as the Democrat candidate for the White House, were, however, slower to embrace the political potential and symbolic resonance of New Orleans than former vice-presidential nominee, John Edwards.
Mr Edwards, the other member of the Democratic "Big Three", announced his own presidential campaign against the backdrop of the city's battered Ninth Ward last month.
Mr Edwards used the city's plight to illustrate his populist message that America is increasingly divided along economic as well as racial lines.
Feelings ran high at the committee's hearing as a protester shouting "Stand up for Justice" interrupted Senator Joseph Lieberman as he opened the hearing. Though the protester was removed from the committee room at the Louisiana State Supreme Court, his message was met sympathetically.
"It's hard to come back here more than a year after Katrina without feeling that emotion," said Sen Lieberman, the committee's chairman. "We're here to say that we understand the work is not done, to put it mildly."
After the hearing concluded the Senators were given a bus tour of the city so they could see how much more work remains to be done in New Orleans' poorest neighbourhoods.
Donald Powell, the president's co-ordinator for the Gulf Coast recovery effort, said the administration was doing all it could to support the reconstruction effort, but said that more time was needed.
"President Bush is committed to rebuilding the Gulf Coast and rebuilding it stronger and better than it was before hurricanes Katrina and Rita," he told the committee.
Someone needs to just tell this empty suit to STFU.
Mississippi is recovering quite well, Osama.
Nothing to see here folks, New Orleans is dying. The emotions of Americans are drained, pouring money into RAT holes. It's just to say we can remember how it was once. But it will never be again. Nails are in the coffin, MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND...you do believe in global warming, and you know that the creek will rise, so move...UP.
"we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities"
TO HELP> HELP
Not give away like there is no tomorrow on people that will piss it away or put trust into the same effing politicians that caused so much of the problems to begin with.
Re-elect Nagin after that?
IMHO, GWB did a very very very stupid thing when he walked out on the WH lawn that day. It will haunt him for two more years and beyond.
isn't it amazing that everyone cites new orleans..and NO ONE will dare say mississippi or alabama..both of which are moving on without the crying and screaming..
if he wants to know why n'awlins isn't moving along quickly, simply compare the leadership of louisiana, mississippi and alabama..
So sick of the constant whining from Liberals about poor New Orleans.
I'm from Lake Charles. We had a little storm too. Her name was Rita. We were devestated. We rebuilt. We didn't move to Houston to live off the government's teat. You don't hear Hussein Obama talk about us too much.
Personally, I am sick and tired of NO crybabies. I have had it with every lefty politician that cries the blues about NO.
Pave the place and be done.
Obama and Nagin, double chocolate in 08.
Congressman Jefferson won't share the spoils with him unless he backs up the lie.
obviously Obama is not willing to do whatever it takes when the security of our country is at stake. e.g., Iraq.
But, as long as there are govt. handouts in the pipe for N.O., the failed Dem Utopia, well, we should by all means do whatever it takes.
Barack Hussein needs to shove it up his skinny ass sideways and twist it.
Exactly what promises were broken? And what are the people of New Orleans going to do to rebuild their city? Galveston was rebuilt. San Francisco was rebuilt after the earthquake. Other hurricane-devestated areas have been rebuilt. Why does the Federal Government have to do it all?
Obama? I remember him. Wasn't he running for President a few months ago or something?
Whatever.... Old news. The Obama fad disappeared faster than Tickle Me Elmo.
Thanks for weighing in and giving real insight from that area. I am in Houston and we got the Katrina "evacuees" aka criminals. They just got an extension (i.e., free ride) to August 2007!