washingtonpost.com
McCain Assails Response to Katrina

Friday, April 25, 2008

IN NEW ORLEANS

McCain Assails Response to Katrina

Touring the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans on Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and vowed to respond differently if elected president.

"Never again, never again will a disaster of this nature be handled in the terrible and disgraceful way that it was handled," McCain told reporters after walking a few blocks through the still-devastated area.

McCain, flanked by his wife, Cindy, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), local pastors, community activists and a coterie of National Guardsmen, spent 20 minutes touring houses in different stages of rehabilitation. When asked to describe how the administration had failed in its response, he replied, "I think everybody is aware of how it was a failure."

McCain said he would handle natural disasters differently by putting qualified people in charge of the nation's emergency response team and by enlisting the aid of private businesses.

-- Juliet Eilperin

FORMER PASTOR SPEAKS OUT

Wright Calls Coverage 'Unfair'

Sen. Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., told PBS host Bill Moyers that inflammatory statements from his sermons were taken out of context. Focusing only on the snippets, Wright said, "was unfair. I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt, for those who were doing that, were doing it for some very devious reasons."

Wright said he didn't begrudge Obama for denouncing the clips of his sermons, which had created a sensation on the Internet and cable TV.

"He's a politician; I'm a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they're two different worlds," said Wright, who retired this year from Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago, where Obama has attended services for 20 years.

Wright's interview with Moyers is scheduled for broadcast Friday night on "Bill Moyers Journal" and is Wright's first high-profile appearance since the firestorm over his remarks began.

Wright will speak at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday.

-- Shailagh Murray

TICK-TICK-TICK-TICK

Chris Wallace Gets Obama to Show

After repeatedly failing to book Barack Obama as a guest on "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace last month started an "Obama Watch" clock. Last Sunday, the clock read 765 days, 13 hours and 54 minutes: the time elapsed since Obama promised Wallace an interview. The clock will stop with Obama's appearance Sunday.

"The 'Obama Watch' probably had some effect," Wallace says. "We made it clear he was ducking us." He says Obama's strategists "realized they need to reach working-class moderate and even conservative Democrats." An Obama spokesman said the clock was not a factor.

A year ago, most Democratic candidates were avoiding Fox as a channel unfair to their party. In late March, however, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said on "Fox & Friends" that "Fox has done the fairest job, has remained the most objective of all the cable networks."

Media analysis or plain, old pandering? "You ignore or boycott 'Fox News' at your peril," Wallace declares.

-- Howard Kurtz

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company