Former FEMA director speaks out on Sandy response

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Anyway, do any of you remember this?


PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

The FEMA director is working 24...


BUSH: They're working 24 hours a day.


CAVUTO: All right, that was then. But happened within weeks of that?

We all know that pat went only so far. Fast-forward today and Michael Brown says get ready for someone in this administration to start looking for a scapegoat, because things will get worse, maybe a lot worse.

Maybe to that point, Michael, what Bo was raising, the possibility of maybe a lot more bodies being found because some of these homes are only now getting accessible.


Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the last I learned, and the last I knew, Staten Island was still part of the city of New York City.

CAVUTO: Indeed it is.

BROWN: And somebody should be asking this question. How many urban search-and-rescue teams has FEMA deployed to Staten Island?

How many urban search-and-rescue teams have been deployed to Long Island, to Queens, where all the homes were burned? Because they need -- they're still in their response mode. And when you're in a response mode, I mean, I know nobody else wants to criticize anyone, and I don't want to criticize FEMA, because FEMA has to do what the state and local governments ask them to do.

But, seriously, you will hold a marathon while you are still trying to get people out of buried homes, homes have been flooded? There's just something wrong with this.

And I want to say one more thing. I wrote an article about how -- and you and I even talked about -- and I think Charles Payne and I talked about New Yorkers needed to chill because this is going to take a long time.

I get that people are suffering. But after how many disasters, how many disasters is it going to take for people to recognize that the federal government, even state and local governments, are not, cannot, and as we are seeing now, will not be there to take care of you? This is driving me nuts.

CAVUTO: By the way, those comments of yours were clearly taken out of context. I know exactly what you were saying.

You were not saying people should chill. What you were saying is that the reality with rescue efforts today is that they won't be coming any time soon or any time fast and that very analogous to what happened to Katrina, those who thought everything was hunky-dory would later discover it wasn't the case.

I hope nothing across Katrina-like dimensions. I suspect and pray not.

BROWN: Right. Right.

CAVUTO: But it is very, very likely that a lot of people whose homes are now only coming into view -- and a lot of word we're getting from Staten Island, Michael, is only because, frankly, Fox showed an interest in Staten Island.

BROWN: Right.

CAVUTO: I have staff members who work there who said, Neil, I have got to tell you, my parents are underwater. There are whole swathes of the town that cannot be recognized now, homes destroyed, a lot of people inaccessible, homes that can't be reached, elderly couples who can't be contacted.

BROWN: Right.

CAVUTO: So, the only point here is that we don't know what we have got.

To the earlier point we mentioned to Bo Dietl is, I don't think now is the time for each other and these various officials to not only get a marathon going, but to be patting themselves on the back, saying we are doing a great job.

BROWN: Well, let me address that.

If you recall, you and I had the conversation that if you watch that videotape closely of when Bush says to me, heck of a job, you see me wince, because I had just been telling the president exactly how bad things were, and then he comes out and says that.

Here is the issue. I talked to a couple of -- some of your staffers. And I have friends in New York City. When this storm, before it hit, I said if the power goes out, it will be seven, maybe even 10 days, sometimes longer before power is restored.

I talked to one of your producers today. In her building, they are hoping that by midnight tomorrow or Sunday, although the building is actually saying it could go into next week. This thing is not over.

They are still in a response mode. And to hold a marathon, a marathon, the last time that I observed a marathon, you have to have police officers, you have to have fire trucks, you have to have health care workers. I think they should be taking care of people Staten Island, Queens, elsewhere. Get the priorities straight.

CAVUTO: All right. Michael Brown, thank you very much.

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