Update: Bushes On The Backfoot Over Hurricane Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept 8 - The White House has gone into damage control following Hurricane Katrina - not just to shield US President George Bush from criticism, but also to explain away embarrassing comments by his mother.
In widely reported comments after visiting evacuees at a Texas sports arena, former first lady Barbara Bush on Monday seemed to suggest a silver lining for the underprivileged'' forced from their flooded homes in New Orleans. What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality,’’ she said in a radio interview from the Astrodome in Houston.
And, so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this - this is working very well for them,'' she said. Today, White House spokesman Scott McClellan jumped in. I think that the observation is based on someone or some people that were talking to her that were in need of a lot of assistance, people that have gone through a lot of trauma and been through a very difficult and trying time,’’ he said.
And, all of a sudden, they are now getting great help in the state of Texas from some of the shelters.'' Her son, the president, has faced criticism for saying that no one anticipated that New Orleans' levees would break - even though various federal and state agencies had indeed warned of that scenario. In first few days of after the hurricane hit Bush also praised Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Michael Brown, saying: Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job’’.
Brown has become a lightning rod for criticism over Washington’s sluggish response to Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States.
Opposition Democrats want Bush to sack him.
The president has also come under fire for paying tribute to ravaged New Orleans only as a place he used to visit years ago to enjoy myself, occasionally too much,'' an apparent reference to the days before he quit drinking. In an effort to raise the spirits of the hundreds of thousands who have lost their homes, Bush has promised to rebuild devastated areas better than they were before. But at one point he focused on the home of a powerful Republican senator instead of the plight of the poor. Out of the rubble of Trent Lott’s house - he’s lost his entire house - there’s going to be a fantastic house. And, I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch,’’ he said on a tour of the region last week, drawing nervous laughter.
Some Republicans winced, including one disbelieving congressional aide who said: Lott? He's focusing on Lott? Surrounded by poor people, he talks about a sitting senator?'' There have also been echoes of the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Bush urged Americans to go shopping and live their lives as normally as possible. In some of her first remarks after the hurricane, First Lady Laura Bush told Gulf Coast evacuees: It’s very important to get your children in school. It gives children a sense of normalcy.’’
The White House later put together a plan to help students and school districts affected by the hurricane.
Barbara Bush had raised eyebrows two days before US troops invaded Iraq, when she told ABC television that she was not interested in media commentators’ concerns about the war’s potential human toll.
Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose?'' she said. It’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?’’
Filmmaker Michael Moore used the remark in his fiercely anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11,'' leading former president George Bush to call him a slimeball’’ and defend his wife as ``a decent, wonderful person.’’