I brought him [President Putin] to my ranch because, as the good people in this part of the world know, that you only usually invite your friends into your house. (Texas - Nov. 15, 2001)
"As Mr. Bush spoke [today in the Rose Garden], Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser, listened on the sidelines, as did Dan Bartlett, the counselor to the president and Mr. Bush's overseer of communications strategy. Their presence underscored how seriously the White House is reacting to the political crisis it faces....
His speech came as analysts and some Republicans warned that the White House's response to the crisis in New Orleans, which has been widely seen as slow and ineffectual, could further undermine Mr. Bush's authority at a time when he was already under fire, endangering his Congressional agenda....
The silence of many prominent Democrats reflects their conclusion that the president is on treacherous political ground and that attacking him would permit the White House to dismiss the criticism as partisan politics-as-usual, a senior Democratic aide said....others said the damage could prove enduring, and they warned that the inevitable battery of official investigations into what went wrong could further erode support for the war in Iraq if it turned out that the deployment of National Guard units to Iraq had contributed to the slow response. They said any thought that memories of New Orleans will fade would be checked by gas prices that spiked as Louisiana refineries shut down, particularly given that there was already evidence that rising gas prices were hurting Mr. Bush's political standing.
Beyond that, some Republicans said the perception among some blacks that the White House had been slow to respond because so many victims were poor and African-American undercut what had been one of the primary initiatives of the new Republican chairman, Ken Mehlman: making an explicit appeal for support among black voters, a constituency that has traditionally been overwhelmingly Democratic....
Both Republicans and Democrats noted that the reaction to the crisis has been nothing like what happened after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when both parties joined in a bipartisan show of unity in the face of a clear and identifiable outside threat.
Hurricane Katrina struck at a time, they said, when Mr. Bush was already in a weakened state, with his approval rating in many national polls at the lowest level of his presidency and his political capital in Washington diminishing."
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