AUSTIN, Texas – President Bush said Monday that coordination among states and the federal government in response to Hurricane Gustav has been better than during Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005 and tattered his administration's reputation for handling crises.
At an emergency operations center in Austin, Texas, Bush said the federal government's job is to assist states affected by the storm. He said he wants to ensure that assets are in place to handle the storm, and preparations are being made to help the Gulf Coast recover.
"To that end, I feel good," Bush said. "The coordination on this storm is a lot better than during Katrina."
He lauded Gulf Coast residents who heeded warnings to evacuate, saying he knows it's hard for citizens to "pull up stakes."
"This storm has yet to pass," Bush said. "It's a serious event."
Bush had planned to address the Republican National Convention, but he headed instead to Austin, about 400 miles west of where the storm struck the Louisiana coast. He received an hourlong briefing aboard Air Force One and planned to learn more about the storm at a command center in San Antonio.
David Paulison, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters on the plane that there has been "unprecedented cooperation" among federal agencies and the private sector. "What it allows us to do is share information of what's going on so we don't end up with what happened in Katrina, with different agencies doing things and others not knowing what's happening," he said.