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Bush: Katrina response 'not acceptable'
Updated: 2005-09-03 11:22

US Army National Guard soldiers assist stranded victims of Hurricane Katrina outside the New Orleans Convention Center. Thousands of troops poured into the city to help with security and delivery of supplies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. [AFP]

|He stayed far from the worst-hit areas of the city and places that have been gripped by crime. Bush met with state and local officials, including New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin who a day earlier had lashed out at federal officials: "They don't have a clue what's going on down here."

"The president is starting to grasp the magnitude of the situation," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (news, bio, voting record), D-La. Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss., said, "The president obviously was just stunned" by what he saw.

Bush sprinkled levity in his remarks at New Orleans' airport at the end of the day. He talked about coming to New Orleans years ago and enjoying himself "occasionally too much." He said he believed the city will recover and "be a better place to come to."

Four days after Katrina killed hundreds if not thousands, Republicans joined Democrats in wondering why it was taking so long to relieve the misery of so many people living in squalor without the necessities of life.

"If we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican.

Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts called the government's response "an embarrassment."

Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., called upon Bush to recall National Guardsmen stationed in Iraq whose homes and families were in the path of Katrina's destruction. The president said there were enough Guard troops for Iraq and recovery efforts.
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