View Full Version : Leave Your Message for Pres Bush After the Beep

09-04-2005, 07:34 PM
Friday story from the Seattle Newspaper and AP: Bush dodges Louisiana Democratic Congressman while schmoozing for Photo Ops. Story is here:

Congressman can't get Bush on the line


WASHINGTON -- Thousands of people stranded in two swamped parishes south of New Orleans are just as desperate for supplies as those trapped in the city but can't get the attention of federal disaster relief officials, their congressman said Friday.

And to make matters worse, says Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La., he was unable to deliver that message to President Bush during his visit to New Orleans because the president's security detail couldn't clear him to board Air Force One.

After waiting 90 minutes Friday while a U.S. marshal using a satellite phone repeatedly tried, and failed, to contact Bush's plane - located just 300 yards away at New Orleans' Armstrong airport - a disgusted Melancon left.

"After an hour and a half of that, and two hours to get down there, I am now back on my way, without seeing the president, not accomplishing anything in my mind today. I've wasted time while people are dying in South Louisiana," he said in a telephone interview. "It's not personal to the president. It's just that this whole thing has been handled terribly."

Melancon said the communications problems that kept him from meeting with Bush are symptomatic of the problems that have plagued the slow-moving federal response to the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.

In St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, just south of New Orleans, victims of the hurricane are still waiting for food and water and for buses to escape the floodwaters, Melancon said. And for the entire time Bush was in the state, the congressman said, a ban on helicopter flights further stalled the delivery of food and supplies.

"I thank the president for his visit today, but it was more show than substance," Melancon said. "Frankly, we needed action days ago."