- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Bush administration mishandled the rescue effort after Hurricane Katrina, said Karl Rove, the top adviser to former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Rove, 59, said the administration should have used a 1807 law that gives the federal government authority to take control of an insurgent U.S. state.

“It was a mistake,” Mr. Rove said Thursday in discussing his recent memoir on The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. “We should have used the legal authority to declare the state an insurgent, taken the political heat of pushing out the state’s governor and overruling the African-American mayor of New Orleans.”

Among the biggest problems the federal government faced in its effort to save lives and property following the 2005 storm was that Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, a Democrat, waited too long to evacuate low-lying sections on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, Mr. Rove said. State and federal officials also provided inaccurate information about evacuees in the city’s convention center, Mr. Rove added, elaborating on what he wrote in his memoir, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.”

“We should have taken all of the political heat that emerged from that and taken command because their mistakes became our mistakes,” he said. “People don’t understand the federal government is not in charge of these things, and the basis on which they can take charge is very unusual.”

Roughly 1,800 people died the aftermath of Katrina, the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

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