Heck of a job, Brownie

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In his first book, former FEMA Director and Guymon native, Michael Brown, tells the story of our government’s response to one of the greatest natural disasters ever to occur in the United States. Without making excuses for anyone, least of all the President of the United States or himself, Mr. Brown describes in detail what ultimately turned out to be the largest federal response to a natural disaster in U.S. history.

“He failed to comprehend the magnitude of the story, the critical timing for evacuation, and the services and personnel that was needed.”

“I had specifically requested that time alone with the ‘Boss,’ as we called him among ourselves, so that I could explain to him, in person, how badly things were going.”

“Thus, when the president, in his usual cheerleading mode, turned to me after being complimented by my friend Governor Riley of Alabama, and publicly pinned his previously private nickname on me along with the ‘heck of a job’ accolade, the video shows me wincing. I had just been telling him how bad things were and what help I needed. Had he been ignoring me?”

When making the now famous comment, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” was President George W. Bush simply being supportive of his embattled FEMA Director, or did the President of the United States fail to fully comprehend the severity of the situation on the ground in New Orleans?

Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond, is available in bookstores beginning Thursday, June 16, 2011.

“The president didn’t get it at first. Not many people did.”

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