California's Lt. Governor, John Garamendi, spoke with Chris Matthews on Hardball yesterday about the devastating wildfires that continue to sweep through southern California. To date, the fires have burned roughly the equivalent of New York City twice over, destroyed 1600 buildings and has caused the evacuation of 950,000 Californians. Garamendi was clearly upset at the destruction in the state and wasn't shy about sharing how he felt Bush could be much more helpful to California than to simply make a visit:
Garamendi: I've got some doubt about the value of President Bush coming out here. That...um, how many times did he come out to New York, or to New Orleans? And still, made promises but hasn't delivered. We have the Terminator out here; Gov. Schwarzeneggar is doing a good job. We'll see.
Matthews: You think it's public relations rather than action?
Garamendi: Of course it's public relations. The actions taking place by the hardworking firefighters and men and women, police are out there on the line, and the community, that's pulling together to support each other. That's where the action's taking place. I know I'm...okay, President Bush comes out; we'll be polite. But frankly, that's not the solution. How about sending our National Guard back from Iraq? So that we have those people here to help us?
That answer obviously didn't sit well with Norah O'Donnell, who interviewed Garamendi today for an update on the fires:
Well, Governor (sic), I've heard you express concern because of the stress the National Guard, not only in California but across the country, have suffered of the involvement in Iraq. But we heard from Lt. Gen. Steven Blum who said today that there's still 17,000 National Guardsmen in California; only 3,000 of the are in Iraq. So you're not criticizing the National Guard, are you?
Good to see that in Noron's world, she buys into that Republican framing that criticizing Bush means criticizing the troops (or California's National Guard in this case). Garamendi isn't the only one criticizing either. You know your reputation is shot when Brownie throws you under the bus...