Cheney Tours Texas Evacuee Sites

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, speaks, as Vice President Dick Cheney, center, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, left, listen during a briefing at the Texas State Operations Center Saturday, Sept. 10, 2005, in Austin. AP

Vice President Dick Cheney toured Hurricane Katrina shelter operations in Texas' capital Saturday.

While he was at the Austin Convention Center shelter, about two dozen protesters gathered outside chanting, "Cheney, Cheney, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide."

Cheney also visited the Texas State Operations Center, where state officials orchestrated the intake of more than 240,000 people last week after flood waters rose in New Orleans.

At the convention center, where 1,500 evacuees remained, Cheney met briefly with 23-year-old Telisha Diaz, who told him she spent four days at the New Orleans convention center before being brought to Austin a week ago.

"It's overwhelming that the state of Texas is giving so much, just giving us everything — jobs, food," Diaz told the vice president, who was surrounded by local officials and congressmen.

Cheney said Diaz's sentiments of gratitude were echoed by all of the evacuees he had spoken with in the two weeks since the hurricane pummeled Gulf Coast communities in Louisiana and Mississippi.

He brushed off media questions about the federal government's slow response to hurricane victims in the hours and days after the storm, and the removal of Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown from his command post in Louisiana amid the criticism and questions about his qualifications.

Cheney said he supported Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's decision regarding Brown and would not comment on any other possible leadership changes.
  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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