From The New York Times:
IOWA CITY — Try as he might, President Bush cannot escape the haunting memory of Hurricane Katrina.
Mr. Bush toured flood-stricken areas here on Thursday, the latest in a string of disaster-zone visits he has made in his role as comforter in chief.
As always, he gave solace and prayers and hopeful words; he called Iowans a “tough-minded people” who would “come back better.” As always, he met the governor and local mayors, pored over maps, dropped in on a shelter, promised federal aid. As always, he brought with him R. David Paulison, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a man so skilled at Hurricane Katrina comparisons that he no longer has to be asked.
An estimated 35,000 people have been displaced by the floods, and 24 have been killed, mostly in Iowa, said Mr. Paulison, who described the disaster as the biggest his agency has handled since Hurricane Katrina.
One politician Mr. Bush did not see while in Iowa was Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, who on Thursday conducted his own tour of the soggy devastation of southeastern Iowa.
“I know that I speak for all Americans,” Mr. McCain said. “We’ll do everything necessary to try and rebuild their lives.”
Always, the question of Hurricane Katrina hovers, with its enduring image of a seemingly detached Mr. Bush, peering out at the devastation from the window of Air Force One. “That was the biggest event of his presidency outside 9/11,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist, “and he can no more escape Katrina than he can escape 9/11.”
But wait, kids. Captain Underpants says that he will do everything necessary to try and rebuild their lives? You mean like in New Orleans? From CBS News, April 24, 2008:
[McCain] also told reporters he was not sure if he would rebuild the lower 9th ward as president.
“That is why we need to go back is to have a conversation about what to do -rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is,” he said.