Read this interesting exchange in today's White House press briefing transcript, courtesy of E&P.
I'd love for someone in the media to get the breakdown of where every cabinet official is this week. Is anyone on vacation? And is Karl Rove still traveling to North Dakota to do a political fundraiser? I mean, if he's in charge of Hurricane Katrina relief for Bush, and another category 5 hurricane is barreling into the same region, wouldn't you think, uh, maybe Karl should be staying home for the next couple of days rather than hob-nobbing with the rich and famous?
Don't get me wrong. A picture of Karl Rove eating lobster and sipping champagne while Texas gets blown away by a category 5 hurricane... Well, as Mastercard would say, that's priceless.
Q Well, Scott, continuing with what Steve said, how is what you're doing for Rita different from what you did from Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. A couple of things -- one, the President is focused on making sure we have the strongest possible coordination with state and local governments in the path of Hurricane Rita. We hope Rita is not devastating, but we must be prepared for the worst. Coordination at all levels needs to be seamless, or as seamless as possible, and that's what we're working to do.
Homeland Security and FEMA officials are working closely with state and local governments so that resources can be targeted where they are most needed. They are redoubling efforts to make sure we have a full understanding of what the needs are so that we can make sure that those needs are met. And I went through several steps that were already taken to address these issues....
Q Well, can you distinguish what you're doing differently?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I just talked to you about where the President's focus is and what we are doing. We want to make sure that we're --
Q And these are things you didn't do in Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to make sure that we are better prepared and better positioned to respond to Hurricane Rita and that's what we're doing. That's why I outlined the several steps that we are taking. And that's why I just told you that the President is focused on making sure that we have the strongest possible coordination with state and local officials, and that we have --
Q Which you didn't have before, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- as seamless as possible coordination with state and local officials.
Q In other words, better than the last time?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think I just answered that question, Bill.
Q No, not really.