President Bush said Tuesday that "I take responsibility" for failures in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and said the disaster raised broader questions about the government's ability to respond to natural disasters as well as terror attacks.
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint White House news conference with the president of Iraq.
"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said.
The president was asked whether people should be worried about the government's ability to handle another terrorist attack given failures in responding to Katrina.
"Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That's a very important question and it's in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond," Bush replied.
With his ratings in the dumper, Bush goes Nixon on Thursday night to try to salvage his presidency. If Clinton can apologize and do the 12 Steps even though he doesn't have a problem with alcohol, Bush can certainly apologize about our government's failures and take responsibility for them. Because it is hard to be president and as he lectured Al Gore it is about character in times of natural disasters.
Presidents do have to apologize. Kennedy did for the Bay of Pigs and his approval ratings went up. Johnson did not seek re-election because of his failure. Nixon and Ford owned their dark sides in their own hapless way. Carter did for the failed hostage rescue.
It was said that Kennedy learned from his mistakes. Is this Thursday night mea culpa a big step for the man who did not know he made any mistakes? Is he doing this for us or for him?
Speaking of Al Gore, you owe it to yourself and the nation to read his speech at http://www.alternet.org/katrina/25349/