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September 2, 2005
New Orleans Mayor to Feds: "Get off your asses"

ray nagin

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been fairly amazing in this crisis, coming off as completely honest and non-political, telling it like he sees it, and demanding that the rest of the government do the same.

This transcript of an interview he did with a local radio station is amazing. He's pulling no punches at all. Now watch as — wonder of wonders! — people rally to the side of the politician who TELLS THE TRUTH.

The interviewer mentions that some are saying that the federal government didn't come in right away because they weren't specifically requested to do so, as if they were all ready to help, but the proper paperwork hadn't been filed yet.

Nagin responds..

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

WWL: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

WWL: What can we do here?

NAGIN: Keep talking about it.

WWL: We'll do that. What else can we do?

NAGIN: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices with requests to do something. This is ridiculous.

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

Bush yesterday described the response thus far as "not acceptable." He's got that right. Of course what he didn't do was acknowledge that this unacceptable response is largely due to his complete inaction for the first 3 or 4 days of this catastrophe. He did nothing until it was far too late.


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