E-Mails Show Ex-FEMA Chief Fretted About Image

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Former FEMA director Michael Brown (search), already denounced by lawmakers for his handling of Hurricane Katrina, may be coming in for more criticism.

A House panel investigating the government's sluggish response to the storm released 23 pages of internal e-mail. The e-mails, dating from the time Katrina hit, show that Brown was preoccupied with how he came across on television.

In one e-mail, a FEMA public affairs official told Brown his outfit looked "fabulous," to which Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms," then added, "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?"

In another, an aide reminded Brown to pay heed to his image on TV, suggesting that he roll up his sleeves.

Some lawmakers immediately decried the e-mails. Louisiana Democrat Charlie Melancon said they "depict a leader who seemed overwhelmed and rarely made key decisions."