By Hayes Brown on Oct 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm
FEMA Director Michael Brown offered criticism of President Obama’s
early responses to Hurricane Sandy yesterday, including a dig at the
administration’s response to last month’s attack in Libya.
Yesterday, ahead of the storm’s pummeling of the eastern seaboard, Brown gave an interview to the local alternative paper, the Denver Westword, on how he believed the Obama administration was responding to Sandy too quickly and that Obama had spoken to the press about Sandy’s potential effect too early.
Brown turned then to a reliable right-wing attack on the President’s
response to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that
killed four Americans:
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly
when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so
quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
Conservatives have been hitting Obama for weeks
on his attendance at a fundraiser in Nevada following the assault in
Benghazi, claiming at alternate times that the President either cared more about politics
than lives lost or that he was trying to downplay the attack’s
significance. Now the critique has mutated into a belief that Obama is
currently “playing President” to score points during disaster relief in
the run-up to the election, in contrast to his actions in September.
Brown is not the only one
making the insinuation that Obama and his administration are responding
too quickly to Sandy only for political reasons. He’s joined in his
accusations by such prominent right-wing commentators as former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich and columnist Charles Krauthammer.
However, Brown’s comments carry a special irony due to the role he
played during the Hurricane Katrina debacle in 2005. As director of FEMA
during the legendarily botched response, Brown, famously dubbed “Brownie”
by President Bush, was in the center of criticism from both sides of
the aisle that the Bush administration was too slow to respond. An internal review
by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector-General following
the disaster concluded, “Much of the criticism is warranted.” Brown
resigned from his position as director less than two weeks after Katrina
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