First Lady: We Learned From Mistakes

President George W. Bush will not address the delegates on the opening day of the Republican National Convention, as was originally planned. Instead, he will visit a hurricane emergency operations center in Austin, Texas.

First lady Laura Bush is in St. Paul and spoke with CBS Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez.

"[The President] is in Texas today to go to both Austin and San Antonio where shelters are, but also where supplies are prepositioned to move into the Gulf Coast after the storm hits. He'll be there today to see what that situation is," says Mrs. Bush.

"But as you know, there will not be a program tonight at all," she continued. "The Republicans will meet all day today, because they have to. They have the business that they have to take care to nominate the candidate for president. All their eyes are on the Gulf Coast. I know they are disappointed, that they will not get to have the program tonight, but I know they understand and are thinking about everybody all across the Gulf Coast."

Over the weekend, Sen. John McCain told delegates that it's time to put the nation before partisanship, with Hurricane Gustav impacting the Gulf Coast.

Rodriguez asked the first lady if she was surprised to hear the Republican nominee for president also refer on Sunday to the mistakes of Hurricane Katrina.

"There were lots of mistakes and they were on every level," says Mrs Bush. "They were local, they were statewide and there were certainly federal mistakes. But we learned from those. And I hope that we'll see -- and I think we will see, for one thing, many, many people have evacuated. Many more people have left than before in the other hurricane."

Mrs. Bush says she believes that the coordination between federal, state and local goverments will be much better.

"I think what was learned from [Katrina] is something that can serve the country well for any sort of disaster in any part of the country. It was a very important lesson," she said.

After the storm, will the people of the Gulf Coast get what they need from the government?

"Absolutely," she says. "I think a lot of things are prepositioned there.
I know once again, just like after Hurricane Katrina, many, many Americans will go down to volunteer or send supplies down or do whatever they can to help -- to see what the problems are and what the effect of this hurricane is."

At the Republican National Convention today, Mrs. Bush says she and Cindy McCain will visit the Louisiana delegation for breakfast and will attend a planned luncheon later in the day. Mrs Bush says she hopes to be able to see a lot of the delegates.

"I know the delegates are disappointed because they expected four nights of huge celebration around their candidate for president and their outstanding candidate for vice president. I'm so thrilled about Sarah Palin," she says.

Mrs. Bush says she knows the Alaska governor well.

"I've met her at the National Governor's Association meetings when she comes to Washington. George and I were just with her in Alaska when we stopped on the way to China for the Olympics. I'm very, very proud. I'm proud that I'm going to get my wish and vote for a Republican woman on this ticket."
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