Administration, citing "reasons of practicality and politics," decided not to intervene early on with federal response to Katrina. Senior administration official: "Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" [NYT]

Congress readily approves spending for Katrina relief efforts including $51.8b package; deficit likely to hit new record. [WP, WSJ, NYT, USAT]

Democratic senators and strategists "are weighing whether to save their ammunition for the next nominee, who would succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, often the swing vote on social issues." [NYT]

Top FEMA officials lack experience; many were patronage appointments. [WP, LAT]

Leadership and compassion from Bush is less visible now than after 9/11; approval rating is down to 40% in Pew poll and 42% in Gallup poll think Bush's response to Katrina was bad or terrible. [NYT, USAT]

Democrats do not approve of Katrina inquiry proposed by Republicans. [WP, NYT]

Cheney tours Gulf Coast: "There's no question there were problems with respect to the evacuation in New Orleans. We've gotten around that problem now, and I think everyone's focused on the future." [NYT]

Swarms of lobbyists are using Katrina to justify their agenda, even for unrelated projects. [WSJ]

Landrieu returns to Capitol Hill: "If my heart is a little heavy today, it's because I've seen more in the last two weeks than I've seen in my entire life." [WP, USAT]

FEMA gives contracts for Gulf Coast housing to five companies, including Bechtel, "in what is expected to be the largest and most lucrative government-funded rebuilding effort ever in the U.S." [WSJ]

DeLay's PAC is indicted for illegally taking money from corporations. [WP, LAT]

Liberal activists mix criticism of hurricane relief with anti-war message: "From Iraq to New Orleans, fund human needs, not the war machine." [WP]

Sandy Berger ordered to pay $50,000 in lieu of jail. [NYT]

Fred Thompson and Ed Gillespie guide Roberts through confirmation process. [WP]

Cheneys are reportedly interested in a house in St. Michaels, Maryland. [WP]

Mayor of Cranston, R.I. will challenge Chafee in Republican primary. [LAT]

MoveOn will not broadcast ad linking Roberts to Katrina problems. [USAT]


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