The primary guest on the show with Tim Russert was the mayor of
This man is so far removed from the reality that the rest of us share that he comes off in the interview as a drowning man trying to stay afloat. Maybe he thinks that if he can be in the front and center during the rebuilding of
MR. RUSSERT: You had said earlier that you didn't think that race was a factor in the preparation and evacuation, and yet you had given an interview to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, and let me read it for you and our viewers.
"Definitely class, and the more I think about it, definitely race played into this. If it's race, fine, let's call a spade a spade, a diamond a diamond. We can never let this happen again. Even if you hate black people and you are in a leadership position, this did not help anybody."
Who in the leadership position hates black people?
MAYOR NAGIN: Well, you know, I don't know who hates black people, but I will just tell you this, that I think the imagery that came out across the nation portrayed that this was primarily poor black people that were affected. And I don't know if that affected the response or not. But I got really upset when I heard about some of our residents walking to one of the parish lines and were turned back by attack dogs and armed guys with machine guns. Then the secretary of Homeland Security came and he asked me to meet him at Zephyr Field, which is near the Saints' training facility. And when I walked over there, I just started to pay attention to things and I saw porterlets that we didn't have. I saw ice. To this day, Tim, no one has dropped one piece of ice in the city of
MR. RUSSERT: And you think those decisions were based on race?
MAYOR NAGIN: You know, I don't know, but I'm hearing all sorts of weird things right now, like, you know, they're going to build--what is it called?--a huge trailer park somewhere in the woods of mid- Louisiana and they're going to bring all the people back that have been dispersed and they're going to create this tent city, if you will. And, you know, for the most part, that would be a huge mistake because here in
Sounds to me like the mayor is pretending to be a little boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and now just wants to forget it happen. The fact is that Nagin failed his city in a time of crisis by not trying to use all resources available as well as not following his own plan for evacuating New Orleans. When he is point-blank asked what mistakes he made, after Russert referenced a Time magazine poll showing that most Americans blame state and local officials for the poor response, he ducks the question and tries to place the blame back on the federal government. Read the entire exchange below.
MR. RUSSERT: What's the biggest mistake you made?
MAYOR NAGIN: My biggest mistake is having a fundamental assumption that in the state of Louisiana, with an $18 billion budget, in the country of the United States that can move whole fleets of aircraft carriers across the globe in 24 hours, that my fundamental assumption was get as many people to safety as possible, and that the cavalry would be coming within two to three days, and they didn't come.
MR. RUSSERT: Many people point, Mr. Mayor, that on Friday before the hurricane, President Bush declared an impending disaster. And The
MAYOR NAGIN: You know, Tim, that's one of the things that will be debated. There has never been a catastrophe in the history of
MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Mayor, if you read the city of
It was your responsibility. Where was the planning? Where was the preparation? Where was the execution?
I have a question for Mr. Nagin, what happen to you sense of duty to your fellow citizens? It is easy to play the blame game and say it was not my fault, everyone does it and I am sure I will accused of such by the leftists that read this post, I have already defined my response to Hurricane Katrina and it includes possibility leaving my family to help rebuild New Orleans however long it takes. Men and women who exhibit leadership are more concerned with results and to Hell with politics when lives are on the line. Regardless or the consequences or the politic fallout, Nagin should have used ever resource available to him. He had resources at his disposal that were never used but available thanks to the President declaring the entire gulf region a federal emergency almost 3 days before the storm made landfall. Look at this except below from the “Meet the Press” interview when the conversation turns once again to resources that could have been used to evacuate people.
MR. RUSSERT: Amtrak said they offered to remove people from the city of
MAYOR NAGIN: I don't know where that's coming from. Amtrak never contacted me to make that offer. As a matter of fact, we checked the Amtrak lines for availability, and every available train was booked, as far as the report that I got, through September. So I'd like to see that report.
MR. RUSSERT: They said they were moving equipment out of
MAYOR NAGIN: I have never gotten that call, Tim, and I would love to have had that call. But it never happened.
A skeptic might say that Russert set him up but in my opinion, Tim Russert is above that level of journalism. I might not agree with his politics most of the time but in my book, Tim Russert is a class act. Ray Nagin is another story all together. He was elected on a pledge to rid New Orleans of corruption and governmental abuses but in the end, he has become his own governmental abuse as he failed his citizens when they needed strong leadership most.
Cross-posted at The Wide Awakes.