Monday, September 19, 2005

Meet the Press, Russert and Broussard, UPDATED

[It took two weeks, but Mr. Broussard's appearance on Meet the Press, dramatic as it was, had a few parts that didn't pass the smell test. I thought about it the first time I heard it: Buddy, you better have all your facts straight, or bloggers are gonna clean your clock.
That's just what happened, too. Of course other nursing home residents did drown, but that's not the point. Point is, the old boy wasn't tellin' the whole truth.
He got caught...]

I'm sorry I had to miss it. Yesterday's Meet the Press was a stem-winder. This morning the transcript is at the top of blogsnow with nearly a hundred links . I came across several references to the program in last night's surfing, so I knew it would be a big deal. Russert did what he does best: hold feet to the fire in return for valuable air time. The most cited moment is when Mr. Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, emotionally boiled up in tears...

MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history....We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to-- reconstructing FEMA.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Broussard, let me ask--I want to ask--should...

MR. BROUSSARD: You know, just some quick examples...

MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?

MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out. Let me give you just three quick examples.

We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away." When we got there with our
trucks, they got a word. "FEMA says don't give you the fuel.

"Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach. I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people. It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me.

The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?"

And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday."

And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...

MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

MR. RUSSERT: Just take a pause, Mr. President. While you gather yourself in your very emotional times, I understand, let me go to Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

Tim Russert went on with his program, but Mr. Broussard's words will be included in whatever history is written of the Katrina nightmare.

Streaming video links at The Brad Blog.

******* ******** ********
Update, September 19
Well, it didn't happen like that. With the precision of a pack of dogs bringing down a stray calf, a bevy of fact-checking bloggers jumped on Broussard's story like ducks on corn.
Crocodile tears.
Discredited, don't you know.
At best, I think Aaron Broussard is the political equivalent of a price gouger; taking advantage of a tragedy in order to gain political capital. He may very well be purposely trying to blame someone's death on an innocent party (or parties). Either way, it's despicable. LINK
Instapundit advertised the revelation of the deception, dismissing it as a myth.
Never mind that other nursing home residents did, in fact, die by drowning. Indictments have been brought against the parties responsible.
I feel all better now about FEMA.
Yep, all better.

No comments: