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Bush team scared: meeting with black leaders over Katrina

The Chimperor still hasn’t deemed the NAACP worthy of his presence, but he sent his trolls out to test the waters (and do a little damage control)…

President Bush’s top advisers met Saturday with black leaders concerned about the administration’s slow response to blacks suffering from Hurricane Katrina, while the head of the NAACP said it was not time for “finger-pointing.”

NAACP President Bruce Gordon said that any recriminations over how the government treated Gulf Coast residents can wait until the mostly poor and black victims are given the care they desperately need.

“Right now, the NAACP is in what I call a life-saving mode. We are not in a finger-pointing mode and until every life has been stabilized and every life has been saved, we will devote all of our energies for that purpose,” Gordon said.

Gordon and Mississippi NAACP officials spoke at a news conference in Jackson hours after Bush administration officials including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met with black leaders in Washington about allegations that indifference to black suffering slowed the response.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the group discussed how to evacuate, save and sustain lives, create temporary housing and ways to work with community and faith-based groups to handle the long-term needs of the displaced.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and past chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he believes the administration was partly interested in offering assurances that any missteps in getting relief to the victims would be corrected.

“I think a lot of people in the African American community — and others, by the way — share Bush’s view that the results of his efforts have been unacceptable,” Cummings said after the White House meeting.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding