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FEMA director, no experience needed?

One of the best ways to get stuff out at a time when you don't want to get press coverage is to do it late Friday afternoon. Reporters, just like everybody, don't want to work late Friday... and fewer people pay attention to the Saturday papers... and it doesn't end up in water cooler talk... In fact, the first season of West Wing did an entire episode on this called "Taking out the Trash Day."

So the White House took out the trash on Friday, the WSJ.com's Morning Brief notes. The White House essentially fired a Rove aid with ties to Abramoff. (And you've gotta love the photo of her that they put with the story.)

But there was also this, as noted by the WSJ.com's Morning Brief:

The other development came from Mr. Bush himself, when he used a "signing statement" to set aside dozens of provisions in a Homeland Security spending bill -- including an assertion of the right to ignore key changes in Congress's overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Post noted. This overhaul was enacted in the wake of fallout from Hurricane Katrina, which saw the departure of FEMA Director Michael Brown, a lawyer and expert on Arabian horses who had no disaster-response experience before FEMA. On Friday, Mr. Bush said he has the right to disregard Congress's insistence that a FEMA director have such experience. The White House "also claimed the right to edit or withhold reports to Congress by a watchdog agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for protecting Americans' personal privacy," the Post added.

Taking out the trash didn't work so well, I guess. The WP's excellent homeland security reporter Spencer S. Hsu was good to pick up on it. Then Bob Schieffer, moderator of CBS's Face the Nation, called it a "heck of a mistake" on his show Sunday. And now the WSJ.com notes it this morning. Chances are lawmakers won't remember by the time they get back to town.

Of course, the President also signed the GSA modernization bill late Friday. Hmmm.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 09, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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