McCain to Tour Katrina-Damaged New Orleans Neighborhood

(CBS)
From CBS News' Dante Higgins:

On day four of his "Time for Action" tour, John McCain will visit the lower 9th ward of New Orleans and the damage and progress since Hurricane Katrina.

McCain will be accompanied by Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., on his visit today and will hold a town hall meeting at Xavier University, a historically black college.

New Orleans is a perfect storm of all the issues McCain says he is out to learn about on his week-long tour. It is a community largely of color and economically challenged with skyrocketing crime. The future of the region is still uncertain as progress to rebuild has not moved as fast as many have hoped.

"I'll fix FEMA, I'll fix our ability to care for people and it is a federal responsibility," McCain said on on the back of his bus earlier this week. "Never again will we have a truckload of ice end up in the state of Maine." To which McCain adviser Mark Salter then joked, "Unless there is a natural disaster there."

McCain says making FEMA an independent agency isn't the problem. He said there needed to qualified people in the job. "The former head of FEMA was not qualified," he said. "They haven't always had a terrible record."

He also told reporters he was not sure if he would rebuild the lower 9th ward as president.

"That is why we need to go back is to have a conversation about what to do -rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is," he said.

McCain said he believes federal, state, and local government partnerships are crucial to any effort and one of the reasons that he thought more progress had been made in Mississippi than in Louisiana.

Later this evening McCain will attend the 25th Annual Business Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet in Baton Rouge, LA.
  • Andante Higgins

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