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Posted at 07:30 PM ET, 10/30/2012

Obama response to Sandy — too fast? Bush’s FEMA head worries.


This photo is from earlier. (MANDEL NGAN - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Credit goes to ThinkProgress and The Atlantic Wire for noticing this quote in an interview with Bush FEMA director (before he retired two weeks into Katrina) Michael Brown, the infamous “Brownie” of “heckuva job, Brownie” fame.

On Monday, Brown criticized Obama’s choice to address the storm in a Sunday press conference.

Denver’s Westword reported:

“Here's my concern,” Brown says. “People in the Northeast are already beginning to blow it off. . . . [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg has shut down the subway . . . [launched] evacuations. . . . I don't object. . . . They should be doing all of that. But in the meantime, various news commentators . . . [and others] in New York are shrugging their shoulders, saying, ‘What's this all about?’ It's premature [when] the brunt of the storm won't happen until later this afternoon.”

Brown says he understands why the president might have chosen to have a news conference earlier rather than later.

“My guess is, he wants to get ahead of it — he doesn't want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics in the middle of it,” he says. “He probably figured Sunday was a good day to do a press conference.

“One thing he's gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in . . . Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick? . . . At some point, somebody's going to ask that question. . . . This is like the inverse of Benghazi.” (Emphasis mine.)

So, yes, that’s a thing that Brown (now a radio commentator) thinks is worrisome. Brown made some good points about when to respond to a developing crisis, but — really? One of the questions the president will be forced to answer is, why he responded so expeditiously? This should be something he worries about?

The irony of this is pretty palpable.

This points out the difficulty of trying to criticize a president who is doing what Chris Christie thinks is an excellent job of responding to a crisis. You have to, well, scrape the barrel a little.

Too fast. That’s what the problem with this response might be. It was not slow enough. Too fast, and you risk looking too presidential, and everyone knows that looking too consciously presidential around election time is a low-down dirty move.

Yes, the comparison Brown was trying to make was to Benghazi, but — that’s a wildly different situation, with Sandy being, as Connor Simpson at the Atlantic Wire noted, “a catastrophic event we could see coming, allowing for proper preparation, and not a surprising event that blossomed and played out over the following few days.”

But more haste, less speed, as they always say.

By  |  07:30 PM ET, 10/30/2012

 
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