AC360 Panel Trashes Bush After Last Press Conference

[media id=7102] The panel on Anderson Cooper trashes Bush for his remarks about Katrina during his final press conference. What amazed me the most

The panel on Anderson Cooper trashes Bush for his remarks about Katrina during his final press conference. What amazed me the most watching this was this comment by David Gergen during their conversation.

I also think, Anderson, just more broadly, I said on the air the other night here on this program that I thought maybe that people would have some sense of warmth about George Bush as he leaves office, as we traditionally do about departing presidents. I think I was wrong.

The responses on your Web site and elsewhere are very hostile. I must say I am revising my thinking about this. I don't think we have had a time since Richard Nixon left office -- and Ed Rollins will remember that -- a quarter-of-a-century ago when people were so relieved to see the end of a presidency and to welcome in a new president.

Gee..you're just now figuring that out? Really? And it took comments made just this past week for you to come to the conclusion that George Bush isn't liked so well? What kind of bubble must Gergen be living in if what he says is actually true? I call B.S. on this one. I have a very hard time believing that he didn't know full well before this week what the country as a whole thinks of George Bush and it should not have taken him reading some comments on blogs this late in the game the week Bush is finally leaving office for him to have finally figured that out.

Transcript to follow.

BUSH: Is, when I get out of here, I'm getting off the stage. I believe there ought to be, you know, one person in the klieg lights at a time. I have had my time in the klieg lights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: In the klieg lights and the heat. We want to show you more of the president's news conference today.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst David Gergen, Errol Louis of "The New York Daily News," and political contributor Ed Rollins.

David, I just want to play viewers briefly a piece that we already shown them which is about Katrina that I just find stunning, what the president said today. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: People say, "Well, the federal response was slow."

Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I mean, it's amazing to me the president who said he's been thinking a lot about Katrina and up late at nights thinking about it over the years still believes that -- that there wasn't a problem with the federal response.

There was a bipartisan congressional report in 2006 that -- that said there were failures of leadership.

GERGEN: That is the most stunning thing, I think, that happened in the press conference, Anderson.

It was sort of, "Good job, Brownie." We're back to that.

I -- you were there. You know how long people had to wait, and that -- and that the -- his own agency didn't even know people were there for 48 hours, didn't know they were at that Convention Center in those terrible conditions.

And, so, I -- I -- there was a lot about this press conference that was surprising, but that was the most surprising of all.

I also think, Anderson, just more broadly, I said on the air the other night here on this program that I thought maybe that people would have some sense of warmth about George Bush as he leaves office, as we traditionally do about departing presidents. I think I was wrong.

The responses on your Web site and elsewhere are very hostile. I must say I am revising my thinking about this. I don't think we have had a time since Richard Nixon left office -- and Ed Rollins will remember that -- a quarter-of-a-century ago when people were so relieved to see the end of a presidency and to welcome in a new president.

COOPER: And, Ed, you were saying before the break that this is a president who has been told for a while -- or kind of telling himself, history will judge me differently.

ROLLINS: This is a president who thought he was going to be historic. He thought he was going to do better than his father. He wasn't going to make the mistakes of his father. He was going to be more like Reagan.

And he has failed as miserably as any president in modern times, certainly. And I think that, as David -- David just said, there's no good feelings. Even Republicans: Please, leave the stage and go home. Let us -- let us try and rebuild our -- our resources.

And the idea that you can stand in a press conference, when the American public watched a major urban city collapse, crumble, people displaced, and be ashamed of it, and say, we did everything we could, I didn't land the helicopter because it would have taken police away, it was just -- just an absurd statement.

COOPER: Right.

I mean, Errol, it's sort of a red herring to talk about the flyover. That was a minor point, yes, a P.R. disaster. And, yes, it would have taken away police officers from more important things. But to focus on what the Coast Guard did, which was valiant and courageous and brilliant...

LOUIS: Sure.

COOPER: ... and totally forget about, you know, saying, Brownie did a heck of a job, on Friday, days after the storm had passed, and not even remembering people in the Convention Center, it just boggles the mind.

LOUIS: Oh, yes, yes. Well, I mean, and then there's the -- there's the run-up to it, the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers, I mean, they had been warned for decades that this Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the MRGO, would funnel in the event of a storm into the inner harbor and top the levees and flood.

COOPER: Right.

LOUIS: And that's exactly what happened.

And then there's the -- the post-response. Put aside what happened with 30,000 people saved. OK, fine. Give them all medals. But the -- the city is still not rebuilt.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right.

And it wasn't -- that's actually an inaccurate number for New Orleans, anyway, which is a minor detail.

But, right -- but the response since, I mean, New Orleans is still in some parts on its knees.

LOUIS: Yes. Yes. I mean, you have Brownie in charge of FEMA. But then he put his top political operative, Karl Rove, who was equally unqualified, to rebuild a major American city, which he sort of approached halfheartedly before departing. And, right now, we still have thousands who are displaced and a city still unbuilt.

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