RUSH: Got an interesting Bill Sammon story today in the Washington Times. And, by the way, we will have the Dittocam on later today, so sit there and be patient if you’re a subscriber at RushLimbaugh.com, I will be turning it on later today. “The latest in a long line of disputes among local, state and federal officials over Hurricane Katrina was defused yesterday when New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin called off reopening the city, although he cited another storm for his capitulation rather than federal officials’ litany of concerns. The various levels of government have disagreed over when to call in federal troops and whether the entire operation should be federalized. They also have clashed over when and how to evacuate New Orleans and when to let residents return. ‘We share the goal of the mayor, but we have got concerns,’ Mr. Bush said early yesterday, when Mr. Nagin still was allowing residents to return. ‘The mayor has got this dream about having a city up and running — and we share that dream,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘But we also want to be realistic about some of the hurdles and obstacles that we all confront in repopulating New Orleans.’ The obstacles include the possibility of additional flooding from Tropical Storm Rita, which was heading toward the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, and the lack of electricity, drinking water and sewage facilities. Early yesterday, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen said it might be as much as a week before residents could return safely.”
So Nagin starts out the day yesterday, says okay, everybody, come back, and he gave ZIP codes that if you live in you can get back into those ZIP codes. “Later in the day, however, Mr. Nagin began reassessing the timing of his plan because of Tropical Storm Rita and other ‘external factors,’ said Nagin spokeswoman Sally Foreman. By the end of the day, the mayor reversed himself, agreeing with Mr. Bush and Adm. Allen that it was too soon and too unsafe for residents to return. The rift yesterday was the latest in a series of high-profile disagreements among federal, state and local officials about how to handle the hurricane and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans. The discord began Aug. 27, when Mr. Bush asked Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to order an evacuation of New Orleans. Mrs. Blanco did not issue the order until Aug. 28, a day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Mrs. Blanco also neglected to ask the president for federal troops when she wrote him a letter on Aug. 27 and when she spoke with him on Aug. 29. She had not made the request even on Aug. 31, when she gave a series of television interviews in Baton Rouge. ‘I really need to call for the military,’ she told her press secretary between interviews. ‘And I should have started that in the first call.’ Later that day, she asked the White House for troops, which were dispatched to assist Louisiana National Guard forces. Mrs. Blanco hesitated again when she met Sept. 2 with Mr. Bush, who offered to have the federal government take over the chaotic evacuation. Mrs. Blanco said she needed 24 hours to make a decision and ultimately rejected the federal offer.” Mrs. Blanco refused to enforce the order of Mayor Nagin. “Mr. Nagin later told CNN that Mrs. Blanco and Mr. Bush needed to ‘get in sync.’ But within days, Mr. Nagin and Mrs. Blanco were feuding with each other over whether New Orleans residents should be ordered to leave their homes. ‘My mandatory evacuation is still in effect,’ Mr. Nagin said Sept. 6. But Mrs. Blanco refused to enforce the order, saying she needed more time for scientists to test the toxicity of floodwaters.”
So we’re looking back now, this is why the Democrats if they insist on some sort of commission here to investigate this are ultimately not going to like what it turns up. I got an e-mail today from somebody, said, “You know, Rush, is it just me, or when I see Governor Jeb Bush warning Floridians about the approaching Hurricane Rita, and when I see Haley Barbour on television from Mississippi, and when I see the governor of Texas, is it me or is it something about seeing a man who’s acting decisive that makes me feel a little bit more comfortable than when I watch this bumbling Kathleen Blanco not know what to do when?” I don’t know if it’s just the person writing the email. The person writing the e-mail says, “Is it just me, is it the sight of a man that’s making me feel more comfortable and the sight of a woman running the show that’s not?” I don’t know what’s in the person’s head, but there’s clearly a major difference whenever you see Jeb or Haley or anybody else that has experience in these kind of things versus some of these local officials in New Orleans who are literally are clueless. They’re still clueless. Listen, let’s go back to the audio sound bites. It’s audio sound bite number two and three here, maybe number four if we can squeeze it in. This is Ray “School Bus” Nagin and he’s on CNN’s American Morning today and Miles O’Brien says to him, “So you won’t be relying on buses or mass transportation of any kind?” In other words, if people can’t evacuate themselves — in fact, not only did he rescind his order to move back in, he’s telling them to leave again. And so Miles O’Brien’s question, “So you’re not going to be relying on buses or mass transportation of any kind? In other words, if people can’t evacuate themselves you don’t want them here?”
SCHOOL BUS NAGIN: Well, I’m not saying that. We have buses available also. But the majority of the people that are here will be a much more mobile population.
O’BRIEN: Have you updated specifically your evacuation plan, though?
SCHOOL BUS NAGIN: Well, we have updates. We have buses that are available for this round of evacuation, yes, sir.
RUSH: Well, let’s go back to September the 2nd. This is on WWL radio in New Orleans, Ray School Bus Nagin called into the host, Garland Robinette, and Robinet said, “What do you need right now to get control of this situation, School Bus?”
SCHOOL BUS NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. They were talking about getting, you know, public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here. I’m like, “You gotta be kidding me, this is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound Bus line in the country and get that (bleep) moving to New Orleans.”
RUSH: This the famous phone call to WWL in New Orleans while those school buses were soon thereafter pictured as flooded, and that’s when mayor School Bus Nagin said, “Well, we didn’t have the drivers, the drivers had already evacuated.” Ten days later, this is where he says that the problem wasn’t the buses, he’s on NBC with Tim Russert. Russert asks him about the pictures of those buses.
SCHOOL BUS NAGIN: We did the things that we thought were best based upon the information that we had. Sure there was lots of buses out there. But guess what? You can’t find drivers that would stay behind with a category five hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome. We barely had enough drivers for that, so sure, we had the assets, but the drivers just weren’t available.
RUSH: Right. I don’t know where we are with the buses now. Apparently the buses, we got the assets now, but I really don’t know. People are being told one minute to come back to New Orleans, the next minute they’re being told to leave New Orleans. As I’ve been telling you, as time goes on, folks, the folly of incompetence at the local level down there is becoming more and more obvious, is it not?