Bush: $10B Aid Is 'Down Payment'

813103--President Bush, facing blistering criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, said Friday, Sept. 2, 2005, "the results are not acceptable" and pledged to bolster relief efforts with a personal trip to the Gulf Coast. Bush made the statement as he left the White House for a tour of the hurricane ravaged area. AP

Facing sharp criticism, President George W. Bush signed the $10.5 billion aid pacakge approved by Congress. Mr. Bush toured the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast on Friday and vowed the government will restore order in lawless New Orleans. He said the $10.5 billion was just a small down payment for disaster relief.

Asked how the richest country on Earth could not meet the needs of its people, Bush said "I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results."

The bill authorizing $10.5 billion in aid passed the House by voice vote Friday. The Senate approved it Thursday evening. President Bush is to sign the measure into law soon. The legislation comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency is spending more than half a billion dollars a day on the aftermath of Katrina.

The new aid averts the possibility that money might run out before Congress reconvenes Tuesday.

The president rejected suggestions that the United States could not afford both the war in Iraq and the hurricane cleanup. "We'll do both. We've got plenty of resources to do both," he said.

Bush warned of gasoline supply problems this weekend because of damaged refineries and pipelines. "It's worse than imaginable," he said after walking through a battered neighborhood in Biloxi, Mississippi.

CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta reports from Biloxi that the Bush administration's response to Katrina is a hot button issue in the Mississippi heat. Much of the outrage is directed at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"FEMA, I don't know where they're at, the Red Cross is too far," said one woman.

Bush began the day at the White House where he expressed unhappiness with the efforts so farto provide food and water to hurricane victims and to stop looting and lawlessness in New Orleans. "The results are not acceptable," said Bush, who rarely admits failure.

Later, he said he was talking about security problems in New Orleans and the fact that food and medicine had not reached thousands of people who need it.

Bush's comments came after New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin lashed out at federal officials, telling a local radio station "they don't have a clue what's going on down here." "They don't have a clue what's going on down there," Mayor Ray Nagin told CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-AM Thursday night.

Even fellow Republicans were criticizing Bush and his administration for the sluggish relief effort. "I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

He urged Bush to name former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the White House point person for relief efforts.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who like Nagin is a Democrat, was less confrontational than the mayor.

"When the system goes down, this is pretty much what you get," she told The Early Show's Harry Smith. "We don't get into the blame game. We just work with what we got."

In Biloxi, Bush encountered two weeping women on a street where a house had collapsed and towering trees were stripped of their branches. "My son needs clothes," said Bronwynne Bassier, 23, clutching several trash bags. "I don't have anything."

  • Gina Pace

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