O'Reilly excused Bush's Katrina response: "maybe he's exhausted"
On the October 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly blamed fatigue for President Bush's delayed response to Hurricane Katrina. According to O'Reilly, "He was lethargic. That was his mistake." O'Reilly sympathetically surmised, "Maybe he's exhausted. ... I'm exhausted, and he works twice as hard as I do."
O'Reilly neglected to mention that President Bush had been on a "working vacation " on his ranch in Crawford, Texas, for more than four weeks when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. As The Washington Post reported , Bush had been informed of the extent of the disaster as early as Monday, August 29, but chose to stay in Crawford until Wednesday, August 31. That day, Bush made his first "visit" to the region, during which he surveyed the damage from a window on Air Force One en route to Washington, as The New York Times reported . Bush actually set foot in New Orleans for the first time on Friday, September 2.
According to USA Today , Bush spent much of August in Crawford on a vacation that was planned to last five weeks, before being cut short by Hurricane Katrina. During that time, he reportedly held occasional meetings with advisers and made a few excursions, including a biking trip in Idaho and a speaking engagement in Utah.
From the October 14 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: President Bush has got to understand one thing: that he's in control, he's in command. It's his government to run right now. He's the most powerful man in the world. He sets the agenda. He's the leader. He's gotta understand that. It's not Karl Rove; it's not Congress; it's him. And when he makes a mistake, as he did in Katrina, and he admitted the mistake. And he said, look, it's on me. And I was glad to see him do that.
I hope it awakened him from his lethargy. He was lethargic. That was his mistake. It wasn't that he was -- didn't like black people or didn't like poor people. That's all a bunch of garbage. He was lethargic, all right? Maybe he's exhausted, probably is. I'm exhausted, and he works twice as hard as I do.