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Go Pelosi! Who Needs Bush Officials When CNN Will Attack Critics For Him?

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President Bush gave a typically unimpressive little speech this afternoon where he dutifully listed some obvious steps being taken for the Americans who had their lives destroyed by Katrina while he stayed on vacation. Bush managed to look serious and then refused to take questions. (Not that I heard reporters shout any at him, such as "When are you going to apologize to America for you and your top officials all staying on vacation during this terrible disaster?")

That was followed by Nancy Pelosi speaking to CNN's Kyra Phillips, who berated Pelosi so severely for speaking out that you would have thought Pelosi was debating a Bush spokesperson instead of speaking to an independent reporter. Pelosi, of course, was terrific.

First talking point: Phillips implied that since things are going better now that it's wrong to keep criticizing Bush for his administration's incompetent response during that first crucial five days.

Phillips: "Are you changing your mind, at all, about how you feel the Bush administration is handling this crisis up to this very minute?"

Pelosi: "It's not a question of how I feel. It's what I know.... If the FEMA head had reacted appropriately a week ago, there would have been less cost in lives and livelihood and people's homes in the region and a lot less cost in money to the taxpayer.... I call once again on the President to replace the head of FEMA. FEMA was a failure last week. Many, many hardworking FEMA workers were out there in the field. But they didn't get the leadership and the accountability they needed.... As we go forward, we can do better if we have professional, capable leadership in position at FEMA to do the job."

They're interrupted by breaking news that 14 bodies have been recovered at a New Orleans hospital. Phillips seems overwhelmed emotionally and can't look up at the camera for a good thirty seconds but keeps talking.

Phillips went on to repeat the White House claim that Pelosi lied about what the President said to her, even though Pelosi repeated it immediately to the media after speaking with the President, has remained consistent on it ever since and the White House at first would only smear her off the record and no one actually at the meeting has stepped forward on the record to say she's lying. Pelosi, of course, is telling the truth. Then Phillips rambles on about being "historical" and who didn't fund the massive levee project and says this:

Phillips: "I think it's unfair that FEMA is singled out. There are so many people responsible for what has happened in the state of Louisiana."

Pelosi: "That is true and I'm sorry you think that it's unfair. But I don't. I think it's unfair to the people who lost their family members, their lives, their livelihood, their homes, their opportunity. And FEMA did a poor job."

Phillips butts in to say: "What about the Army Corps of Engineers with all those warnings --"

They talk over each other, until Pelosi finally says, "Kyra, if you want to make a case for the White House, you should go on their payroll."

Ouch. Great job, Pelosi. And that argument is pathetic: ignore the incompetence of the head of FEMA -- a man who is absolutely unqualified for his job and failed spectacularly at it on national TV and cost Americans their lives -- because people in the past didn't fund a levee rebuilding project? Absurd. That's a recipe for no accountability ever.

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