No New 'Czar' For Gulf Coast
From the press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route New Orleans, with White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton:
MR. BURTON: Well, the President has been to New Orleans since Katrina; he's seen the damage. As President he's sent more Cabinet Secretaries and senior administration officials to the Gulf Coast region than almost any other place in the country. He's freed up billions of dollars in aid to the region to help with the recovery efforts. He's helped to cut red tape to put people back to work, get kids back into the schools, to get people back into their homes. And he's going to continue those efforts. And it's his hope that he's judged not just by the words that he says but by the actions that he's done and that he continues to do over the course of his administration.
He's -- today, specifically, though, he is looking forward to hearing directly from the people of New Orleans about their questions, concerns and thoughts about the recovery efforts and what they're seeing and what the administration can do.
Q Has he got anything new to announce, anything to offer them beyond his presence, or is it just a listening session?
MR. BURTON: The President is here to listen today.
Q Do you guys have any plans to announce, like, a Gulf Coast recovery czar to oversee the federal effort down in the Gulf Coast?
MR. BURTON: There's no such effort that I know of.
Q Is he going to --
Q Before you move on, do you mind if I just ask, are there any dignitaries he's going to be meeting with? Is the mayor going to be there, for example?
MR. BURTON: Some of the folks who will be there include Mayor Nagin, Senator Landrieu, Lieutenant Governor Landrieu, Speaker Pro Tem Karen Carter [Peterson]. Congressman Cao and the congressman from Louisiana 1 -- who's name escapes me for a moment -- [Melancon]. The governor will be there, Bobby Jindal. So you'll see a --
MR. BURTON: He'll be there when we land. And he'll also be at the town hall. And then Secretaries Donovan, Napolitano and Duncan will all be there as well.
Q And they all have separate events also, those -- the Secretaries?
MR. BURTON: They do have separate schedules that they're doing, but they'll all be linked up with what the President is doing, as well.
Posted at 1:57 PM ET on Oct 15, 2009
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