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Rove and Bartlett devised plan to shift blame to Louisiana and to ignore Democrats' attacks; many Bush advisors spent weekend at Nicole Devenish's wedding in Greece. Chertoff's talking point: "We will have time to go back and do an after-action report, but the time right now is to look at what the enormous tasks ahead are." [NYT]


Officials point fingers over failures in Gulf Coast. Nagin: "We're still fighting over authority." Hillary calls for independent commission to analyze response. [NYT, WT]

"Besieged White House" forced to balance problems on the Gulf Coast, complexity of Supreme Court drama, and ongoing challenges in Iraq. [WP, WT]

High death toll anticipated. Michael Leavitt: "I think it's evident it's in the thousands." Chertoff: "We need to prepare the country for what's coming." [WP, NYT, LAT]

Bush to revisit Louisiana today. Doris Kearns Goodwin: "These are the kinds of moments when a president gives voice to the country. They're remembered forever, if it's done right." [NYT]

Years of budget cuts and bureaucratic shuffling have left FEMA unprepared. Former official: "They've taken emergency management away from the emergency managers. These operations are being run by people who are amateurs at what they are doing." [LAT]

Howard Kurtz: "For once, reporters were acting like concerned citizens, not passive observers. . . Maybe, just maybe, journalism needs to bring more passion to the table -- and not just when cable shows are obsessing on the latest missing white woman." [WP]

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