On the pre-campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama made a stop in New Orleans on Monday and took some shots at the Bush administration:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama toured hurricane-scarred New Orleans on Monday after criticizing the White House for the slow pace of recovery from storms that hit the Gulf Coast almost a year and a half ago.
”There is not a sense of urgency out of this White House and this administration,” Obama said during a Senate committee hearing on the response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
He also took the opportunity to step-up the pressure by saying:
Obama echoed that criticism, noting that Bush had traveled to the city shortly after the disaster and had promised to do “what it takes â€¦ as long as it takes” to rebuild New Orleans.
But “17 months later, we heard not a single word, not one word in President Bush’s State of the Union address,” Obama said. “Those of us who are concerned all across the country wonder if we’re in danger of forgetting about New Orleans, and that’s shameful.”
The scale of the Katrina devastation is something a lot of us cannot easily comprehend. The miles upon miles of devastation just does not fit on our TV screens. When you add to that the images of a “reborn” New Orleans with a sold-out Superdome and the numerous commercials to “come back to New Orleans” you get the impression that things are fixed. I believe the efforts to promote business as usual are running contrary to the need for more assistance.
I’m going to New Orleans in a month and looking forward to seeing the situation for myself. I was last there a couple of months prior to Katrina and went down to the Astrodome and met survivors when they came to Houston. A part of me is looking forward to seeing the real New Orleans and a part of me is afraid of what I will see.
Perhaps like the Bush Administration, I have stopped thinking about how much is still left to be done.