Pool Report: Bush Narrowly Escapes a Pounding

bushplane.jpgBush stopped off in New Orleans to help pretend to rebuild crap (though we do think it'd be more effective if they just paid for professionals) -- you pooler was there.


Bush put on a carpenters apron and talked to a few workers in front of a Dewalt table saw. He would later add gloves to working attire. He shook a lot of hands and helped carry the beams that will soon support the roof. He called on your pooler to join the volunteers - I declined. He made his way to the first floor and grabbed a hammer to pound a few nails. He was pounding in the brackets that help fortify the frame. Nagin, no stranger to the camera, started pounding along side bush. Nagin made a few jokes about people he would like to pound and the two talked briefly about Nagin's left-handed hammering. "I am a lefty all the way," Nagin said. Bush, of course, is a righty.

No details on who, exactly, Nagin wanted to "pound," but we imagine things got suddenly very tense. No mention of Air Force One's gas milage, either -- you're slipping, guys.

Your pool reporter was noted Fox News critic Jim VandeHei. Full report after the jump.

Pool Report #1

Scott gaggled on AF1 - read your transcript. He came back later and

said Bush would do interview with Brian Williams after his two New

Orleans stops, which is taking place as your pooler writes. Several Bush

aides in tow: Townsend, Powell, hubbard, Bartlett and company. We flew,

landed, boarded helo and landed in the devastation known as the ninth

ward of new orleans. For those you have been here since Katrina,

conditions have not improved much. Bush's limo ride to his first stop of

the day offered an upclose look at the obliteration. Levees are being

rebuilt and or fortified, but a sea of houses are badly damaged, boarded

up from top to bottom and awaiting rehabilitation. The streets are often

lifeless. There were piles of trash and badly broken rails on an

overpass, and row of what looked like brand new homes (before katrina)

shuttered and vacant. A few small groups of african americans waived at

the motorcade - otherwise it looked like a ghost town. Bush made his

first stop on Pauline Street, parking but William Frantz School, its

doors locked with chains and empty. Bush visited the home of Ethel

William at 2036-38 Pauline. The single level small house was devastated

by the storm. A pile of wood, debris and chairs, as high as six feet at

its apex, littered the street out front. A slight orange mark at least

four feet high stood as a stark reminder of the flood that destroyed

this neighborhood. But the house was also a symbol of the area's slow

rebirth. Thanks to Operation Helping Hand, a volunteer program operated

by Catholic Charities, is in phase one of the reconstruction effort:

gutting all of the water-stained houses. Bush, Mayor Nagin, Gov Blanco

and Rep. Jefferson toured the house with ms. William. More than a dozen

volunteers were inside. Afterward, bush came out, wrapped his arm around

williams (nagin, jefferson, blanco positioned themselves around them)

and called on americans to join the volunteer effort. Ms williams

promises to one day reward bush with a home cooked meal. From there we

drove about five blocks to what was once an empty field but not now the

site of "muscian village" a habitat for humanity effort to build housing

in what one local described as a once violent area of the city. The plan

is to build 280 housing units, which are one story and built several

feet off the ground to provide some cushion in case a flood hits again.

The lot had been vacant for 15 years. Bush put on a carpenters apron and

talked to a few workers in front of a Dewalt table saw. He would later

add gloves to working attire. He shook a lot of hands and helped carry

the beams that will soon support the roof. He called on your pooler to

join the volunteers - I declined. He made his way to the first floor and

grabbed a hammer to pound a few nails. He was pounding in the brackets

that help fortify the frame. Nagin, no stranger to the camera, started

pounding along side bush. Nagin made a few jokes about people he would

like to pound and the two talked briefly about nagin's left-handed

hammering. "I ama lefty all the way," nagin said. Bush, of course, is a

righty. We will leave as soon as the brian williams exclusive concludes.

That's all folks. Vandehei

Jim VandeHei

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