When Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard Stevenson reported in the NYTimes on September 15 that Karl Rove was leading Katrina recovery efforts many on the left complained but no one disputed the story.
Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
After all, it was Bumiller who reported Chimpy’s IPod playlist, with access like that who could dispute the Karl in Charge story.
Little Scottie never attempted to roll back Bumiller and Stevenson’s scoop, even during the September 19 gaggle in which he was asked about Rove’s assessment of the response to the hurricane. Instead of disputing Rove’s key role in recovery efforts, Scottie quibbled about the blame game.
Q Scott, it seems that Karl Rove has already made the assessment for the administration as to what went wrong with Katrina, because according to reports, he said in Aspen, at the Sportsmen’s Annual Off the Record that the only mistake that we made with Katrina was not overriding the local government. If this is, indeed, true, what would have been done differently?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not sure that’s an accurate account.
Q Well, there are reports that you guys are trying to blame it on the local government —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the report is put out by critics, so I’m just not going to —
Q `Well, what would have been done differently, then, if what Karl Rove is saying is true? If you would have taken over? The response was late, the federal government —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, one of the issues that the President talked about that needs to be looked at is in a case like this where you have a storm of this magnitude and scope, one like we’ve never seen before, then — and the local and state first responders are essentially overwhelmed, then what do you do to address that issue? Does the federal government — we need to look at the role of the federal government, specifically the military.
So why the sudden change on Friday, when Scottie flatly stated that Rove was not coordinating the Assministration’s hurricane recovery efforts, scaring the bejesus out of th ecountry by announcing that “The President” was in charge?
Q One more, more or less unrelated. It’s been reported in several places that Rove is the point man to taking charge of the hurricane recovery. Is that the case?
MR. McCLELLAN: No. That’s false.
Q Is there such a person?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think anyone ever checked that. It just was one of those things that started appearing, and no one ever bothered to check it.
Q Is anyone in charge?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President.
Will we soon see Karl Rove’s image removed from official White House photographs?