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Does Gov. Blanco Dress Properly for Hurricane?

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Mike

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By LARA JAKES JORDAN
Associated Press Writer
Dec 12 3:25 PM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON - Trying to avoid a public relations disaster, aides to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco fretted over her not appearing in charge after Hurricane Katrina hit, even worrying about her clothing, documents released Monday show. Thirteen pages of e-mails sent in the immediate days after the Aug. 29 storm also reflect the Blanco administration's concerns over race relations _ specifically, the number of black victims leaving Louisiana to find shelter.

A Blanco spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment on the documents Monday. The e-mails were released by Republican aides to a special House committee investigating the government's response to Katrina.

In a Sept. 4 e-mail exchange, top Blanco aides bristled at Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's remark that the federal government "is in control of New Orleans."

"Our answer is the National Guard is in charge of security under her direction," Blanco chief of staff Andy Kopplin wrote. "The mayor is in charge of the city. The governor is in charge of the state and the guard and security. The federal government is now meeting important missions that it has."

The next day, two Blanco press staffers appealed to other senior aides to stop travel that would have had the governor leaving the state on a day when President Bush was scheduled to be there.

"Reinforces the notion that she's not in charge and LA (Louisiana) needs to be federalized," wrote Blanco press secretary Denise Bottcher in a Sept. 5 e-mail.

Agreed Blanco communications director Bob Mann: "White House will be thrilled that she left the state. They will eat us for lunch. She cannot snub potus."

"Potus" is for "president of the United States."

Aides also had concerns about Blanco's physical appearance and discussed ways to make her look strong but compassionate. Their ideas, according to the e-mails, included having Blanco "put a few bags of ice in the hands of the citizens who need it" and stop "doing too many 'first lady' things."

"Gov. Blanco might dress down a bit and look like she has rolled up her sleeves," press consultant Kim Fuller of Witt Associates wrote in a Sept. 4 e-mail to aides including Bottcher, Mann and Kopplin. "I have some great Liz Claiborne sports clothes that look kind of Eddie Bauer, but with class, but would bring her down to level of getting to work."

"She would look like a woman, but show she is MOVING MOUNTAINS," Fuller wrote.

Former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown also was criticized for e-mails that showed him discussing his wardrobe during the crisis created by Katrina. Brown resigned amid questions about his disaster management experience.

The Blanco administration e-mails also reflected concerns about racial politics _ specifically, needing to appear sensitive to black evacuees.

"You send that many black folks out of state, we will have a perception problem," Blanco assistant chief of staff Johnny Anderson wrote in a Sept. 2 e-mail.

"Word is already that we are only sending blacks out of this state," Anderson wrote. We are make (sic) a strategic error. FEMA will not have to answer to the people, we will."

Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin are to testify Wednesday in front of the House Katrina panel.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

Mike

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Democrats, media egg on Blanco to poor storm response
Politicsla.com ^ | 12/12/05 | Jeffrey Sadow

Posted on 12/12/2005 2:05:48 PM PST by LdSentinal

Unfortunately, part of the delayed response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster came because of the need to wait out a political mating dance, one which might have been expedited had Louisiana a different governor of a different political party.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco neither is bold nor leads particularly well, qualities which served her poorly in the aftermath of the storm. But it certainly didn’t help that her administration seemed overly sensitive about the political implications and ramifications of her actions.

And two things caused her to impose an absurdly partisan lens on the entire episode, including the decisions about getting regular federal armed forces into the state that delayed such response. First, the liberal mainstream media felt moved to “tip her off” about what they saw as the Pres. George W. Bush Administration’s motive. Do we need any more proof about the motives of the media and its biases in this country than this sorry episode? Not only did media figures feel compelled to contact Democrat Blanco about what they saw as Republican Bush’s maneuvering, but does anybody seriously doubt that the media did not offer similar “aid” to the White House?

Second, the Democrat Party apparatus, both in personal contact with Blanco and in the general ethos it disseminates concerning Bush, also contributed to Blanco’s paranoia. We must recall that both Democrats and the media, most of each understanding that their liberal agendas cannot win in the marketplace of ideas among American voters, only can try to win voters’ hearts and minds by character assassination of Republicans. Thus we get the total mischaracterization of Republicans ingrained into Democrats’ psyches, aided by the media, as immoral blackguards out to wreck the country to empower themselves (when, in fact, given the intellectual bankruptcy of liberalism this more likely would apply to Democrats).

(And Blanco’s administration is obsessed with its image. One needs no more proof that its reaction to comments and reporting about her on the Internet.)

Thus, Blanco, a weak figure to begin with, was exceptionally impressionable to her allies telling her falsely that the Republican White House primarily was cruising for political points in its actions instead of its justified concern over Louisiana’s famous politicization of all things governance which it hoped to avoid through federal supremacy in troop direction. Therefore, she reacted by making suboptimal decisions about requesting federal troop aid and in how they were to be directed.

But’s let’s say that the liberal straw man of the Bush White House constructed by the Democrats and media had been true, and Blanco’s fears realized. Even so, were Blanco a real leader, she wouldn’t have cared who got the political blame or credit, and she would have written whatever and signed whatever papers were necessary to get assistance there as soon as possible.

However, we don’t have that quality in this governor, and it’s sad that needless suffering occurred because her and those around her were so invested in a false image of Republicans, egged on by their partisan cohorts and willing accomplices in the media.
 

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