A week after drawing criticism with comments about Hurricane Katrina evacuees, Barbara Bush (search) focused on the nation's outpouring of support for those in need.

During a ceremony at Maine Medical Center, the former first lady said Wednesday that Americans have shown compassion following the devastation of the hurricane. The United States isn't perfect, she said, but the nation never stops trying to make life better for its citizens.

"If you don't believe this, then look at the outpouring of care and money and comfort our great country has given to the victims of Hurricane Katrina (search)," she said.

Mrs. Bush was criticized last week when she suggested, while visiting the Houston Astrodome, that poor people from Louisiana being housed there were faring better than before the hurricane struck.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said at the time. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

Mrs. Bush and former President Bush were in Portland for the groundbreaking for the medical center's Women and Infants Building, set to open in 2008. The center's children's hospital is named for the former first lady.

Her husband made brief remarks introducing her. The couple have a home in Kennebunkport, about 35 miles to the south.