In an interview with "NBC Nightly News," Bush said he saw televised pictures showing the government's faltering response to Katrina, and that his first thought was that there was a breakdown of communications between all levels of government after the Aug. 29 hurricane.
"I heard, you know, a couple of people say ... `Bush didn't respond because of race_ because he's a racist,' or alleged that," Bush said. "That is absolutely wrong. And I — I reject that.'
"You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist. Secondly, this storm hit — all up and down (the Gulf). It hit New Orleans. It hit Mississippi, too."
Now for a dose of reality, I take you back to September 3rd when New Orleans was still suffering from the storm
In conversations at restaurants, homes, offices, on talk radio and online, it's clear that many blacks and whites view the effects of Katrina differently.Stop trying to re-write history, George. Your blathering words only making you look more incredibly incompetent and out-of-touch than your actions have already proven.
Although no group is monolithic in opinion or emotion, many blacks are outraged that so many of their own were left behind in New Orleans with no evacuation plan and no urgent effort to rescue them.
"Black people are mad because they feel the reason for the slow response is because those people are black and they didn't support George Bush," said Ron Walters, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. "And I don't expect that feeling to go away anytime soon."
No one questions that whites have been moved by the suffering of blacks, and vice versa. But amid images of black looters, some sympathy threatens to give way to anger and disdain.
The hurricane's racial conflict took on political overtones Friday, as black leaders blasted the Bush administration's slow response and asked whether race played a part.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson charged that race was "at least a factor" in the slow response.
"We have an amazing tolerance for black pain," he told CNN on Friday. He questioned why the U.S. military couldn't house many of the homeless on unused military airbases, adding that more people will die of starvation and dehydration than from drowning.