Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) both appeared on national television Sunday morning to talk about Hurricane Irene, with both showing up on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Besides providing an update on power outages — more than 800,000 people in Maryland at the time — O’Malley went out of his way to praise the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was widely criticized for its response in 2005 to Hurricane Katrina.
“The good news is this: because of FEMA's partnership, because people listened, we were able to avoid any big problems in terms of threats to the public, to lives and to public safety,” O’Malley told host David Gregory.
He returned to the subject later in the interview, praising the work of FEMA Director Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama.
“They have been excellent,” O’Malley said. “They have been with us since day one, and actually, before the storm arrived, they were here, and it's worked really, really well. This is a much better FEMA than the olden days.”
McDonnell, who appeared after O’Malley, said said the storm caused the “second largest power outage in the history of this state.”
McDonnell said a lesson had been learned from a previous hurricane, Isabel, in 2003.
“What we learned from Isabel is about half of the deaths actually occurred after the storm had passed with either over-exertions, exposure to power lines.,” McDonnell said. “So, all the crews are out now, but it's going to be days, perhaps a week before all the power's restored. We just ask people to be patient.”
It was the second time in two weeks that O’Malley and McDonnell were on the same Sunday show. Last week, they appeared jointly on CNN’s “State of the Union” in their respective capacities as chairmen of the Democratic Governors Association and Republican Governors Association.