Katrina And Rove

Ken AshfordBush & Co., DisastersLeave a Comment

Karl Rove has been assigned to handle the counterspin, trying to resurrect Bush from his failings of last week, according to the New York Times:

Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.

One of those efforts has been to, well, lie to the Washington Post, as Josh Marshall points out:

Earlier today we noted that in today’s papers the Post passed on a claim from a "senior Bush official" that "as of Saturday [i.e.,Sept.4], [Gov.]Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency."

As TPM — and probably half the blogosphere — pointed out, there is voluminous information in the public record showing this to be demonstrably false.

The Post just ran this correction …

A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency. She declared an emergency on Aug. 26.

Good for them for correcting the record. But are they going to be taking more blind quotes from this senior official who got them to pass on misinformation to their readers?