WASHINGTON – Barbara Bush (search) was making "a personal observation" when she said poor people at a relocation center in Houston were faring better than before Hurricane Katrina (search) struck, President Bush's spokesman said Wednesday.
Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, did not answer directly when asked if the president agreed with his mother's remarks.
Mrs. Bush, after touring the Astrodome complex in Houston on Monday, said: "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." She commented during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace."
McClellan, at the White House briefing, said: "I think she was making a personal observation on some of the comments that people were making that she was running into. ... But what we're focused on is helping these people who are in need."
Asked if Bush agreed with his mother, McClellan said: "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. And all of a sudden, they are now getting great help in the state of Texas from some of the shelters."