I don't make decisions based upon polls

President Bush’s Remarks During Tour of New Orleans

Just a snippet – but I thought these remarks were worth it.

Reporter1: Mr. President, we, there is a belief here after two weeks on the ground that FEMA let the people here on the ground down and perhaps in turn people could get evidence of what it’s done to your popularity and perhaps FEMA. Do you think that your management style {couldn’t hear} in this particular scenario let you down…

President Bush: Look there’ll be plenty of time to play the blame game. That’s what you’re trying to do.

Reporter1: No, I’m trying to…

President Bush: You’re trying to say somebody’s at fault. Look. And I want to know. I want to know exactly what went on and how it went on. And we’ll continually assess inside my administration. I sent Mike Chertoff down here to make an assessment of how best to do the job. He made a decision. I accepted his decision. But we’re moving on. We’re going to solve these problems and there’ll be ample time for people to take a look back and see the facts. Now, as far as my own personal popularity goes, I don’t make decisions based upon polls. I hope the American people appreciate that. You can’t make difficult decisions if you have to take a poll. It’s been my style ever since I’ve been the President. And of course I rely upon good people. Course, you’ve got to as the President of the United States. You set the space, you set the strategy, you hold people to account. But, yeah, I’m relying upon good people. That’s why Admiral Allen is here. He’s a good man, he can do the job. That’s why General Honore is here. And so when I come into a briefing I don’t tell them what to do, they tell me the facts on the ground and my question to them is, ‘Do you have what you need?’

Reporter2: Did they misinform you when you said that no one anticipated the breach of the levies?

President Bush: No, what I was referring to was this: When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first people said ‘Whew.’ There’s a sense of relaxation. That’s what I was referring to. I, myself, thought that we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people, probably over the airwaves, that said the bullet has been dodged. That’s what I was referring to. Of course there were plans in case a levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation at a moment, a critical moment. Thank you for giving me a chance to clarify that.

The President was then asked about where he was when he learned of the breaches.

President Bush went to say that he had signed the emergency orders prior to the storm hitting.

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