What about the dead?
Lamont faults Lieberman, Bush on Katrina
By SUSAN HAIGH, AP Political Writer Thu Aug 24, 9:20 PM ET
HARTFORD, Conn. - The Gulf Coast is thousands of miles away, but the federal response to Hurricane Katrina has become an issue in Connecticut's hot U.S. Senate race.
Democratic primary winner Ned Lamont is accusing U.S. Sen.
Joe Lieberman, now running as an independent, of not holding the Bush administration accountable for failures in responding to the disaster.
Lamont also says Lieberman, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, mistakenly agreed to put the troubled Federal Emergency Management Agency under the control of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"I think FEMA worked really well when it had professional management as an independent agency," Lamont said in an interview this week. "And sure, it was Senator Lieberman who said, 'Let's redo FEMA.' It was Senator Lieberman who said, 'Let's put Michael Brown as No. 2 at FEMA.'"
Lieberman defends his record on Katrina, saying he visited the devastated region a week or two after the storm and several times later. He said he and Sen. Susan Collins (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, issued a bipartisan Homeland Security Committee report in April that was critical of all levels of government, from the White House to the New Orleans mayor's office.
Lieberman, in a secondary report, took sharper aim at President Bush, who he said appeared distracted from the disaster as it unfolded. "The president is, after all, the commander in chief — not only in terms of international crises, but in terms of catastrophes here at home," he said.
On Thursday, Lieberman said he has also consistently fought to get adequate federal aid delivered to the Gulf Coast region.
Lamont was scheduled to be one of the headliners Thursday night at a fundraising event for Katrina victims in New York City, where he is to outline his plan to prevent another similar tragedy.
The event, organized by the liberal organization MoveOn.org, will feature celebrities such as actress Rosie Perez and singer Moby, as well as some Katrina evacuees.
Lamont, a Greenwich businessman and political newcomer, defeated three-term incumbent Lieberman in the Aug. 8 primary by about 10,000 votes.
Lieberman is now running as an independent in a three-way race with Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger. Lamont has gained support by criticizing Lieberman for being too supportive of Bush and the Republicans on various issues, including the war in Iraq.
This is not the first time Hurricane Katrina has been an issue in the Senate race, which has attracted both national and international attention.
What will Joe say now?
posted by Steve @ 3:14:00 AM