Kansas Tornado Survivors Slam Governor Sebelius
UPDATE BELOW: Report- The governor admits to politicizing the tornado(?)
The poor response thing is “Just Political BS!”
I was told she wanted to run as vice president on the Democratic ticket, and honestly, I wouldn’t vote for her if they paid me because of that one thing she said on television right there. It was a political slam is all it was.”
–Greensburg Resident Mike Swigart told WCBSTV.com
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (C) talks with Greensburg residents Darrin Headrick (L) and Dennis McKinney in Greensberg, Kansas, May 6, 2007. (REUTERS/Dave Kaup)
Local residents of Greensburg, Kansas were overwhelmed with the response they got after the devestating tornado blasted through town. They say the governor’s fuss is only for her own good!
While Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Bush administration jaw back-and-forth over the relief efforts for Greensburg, Kan., the town devastated by Friday night’s F-5 tornado, town residents have chimed in and say they couldn’t be any happier with the response from the government and other rescue units.
“The poor response thing is just political BS,” Greensburg resident Mike Swigart, 47, who lost his house and four vehicles from the storm, told wcbstv.com in an exclusive interview. “I saw her on television and I’m disappointed in that because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
After the storm dissipated, Swigart and his family came up to find just a small portion of the structure of their house remaining. Their cars were destroyed. People were crawling from a semi-truck that rolled onto his lawn. But Swigart said there was an almost immediate response from other towns, people who had lined up to try and provide rescue efforts. He said Sebelius’ comment about the lack of Humvees was unfounded.
“You may have seen her on television when she said that, and she talked about Hummers, that we needed Hummers. There were Hummers sitting in front of my house every day. The National Guard was there,” he said. “I saw people from all over who came right away to help and nobody sent them, they just came because they knew it was going to be big. The response was excellent, the rescue efforts were all night long, and I even made a comment to my wife later that night when we came back into our basement that I can’t imagine anyone saying we had a poor response to this tragedy, that it was so quick and it was amazing.”
Swigart says the general feeling around the town is that residents were overwhelmed by the immediate response, and that the governor’s fuss was for her own good. White House press secretary Tony Snow responded to Sebelius by saying that there was no request by Kansas officials for extra equipment, and that if there is anyone to blame, it’s her.
“I was told she wanted to run as vice president on the Democratic ticket, and honestly, I wouldn’t vote for her if they paid me because of that one thing she said on television right there. It was a political slam is all it was,” he said. “It was a political statement and as far as the military thing overseas, I support what they’re doing over there, and the military that came here is doing a great job too.”
Hat Tip Tully who went to take photos of the unused Kansas guard equipment at a Witchita armory, but was turned away because of security concerns.
When only 10% of the National Guard members were called in, her argument didn’t hold much weight anyway.
UPDATE: This is not solid but there is a report that the governor of Kansas admitted to politicizing the tornado!
Albany’s Insanity has the story.
R-Red at Free Republic– Jim Quinn of radio show Quinn & Rose, this morning alleged that Kansas Governor Sebilius launched her attacks against President Bush and the National Guard, and continues to at the behest of Howard Dean and Dick Durbin.
Update 3: Chuck P. sends this link so that you can send a comment to the Kansas governor… Be respectful, please!
Update 4: Andy B. sends this on the Quinn and Rose Show from this morning:
While listening to the Quinn & Rose show this morning on XM radio, host Jim Quinn told his audience that Howard Dean called Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius early, around 5 am, one morning after the tornado had destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas and discussed with her what to say about the tornado and how to blame the war in Iraq and the Bush administration on a slow response to the aftermath.
He also said that she, Gov. Sebelius, called Senator Sam Brownback’s office only to learn he wasn’t there but then called him on his cell phone and reached him while he was in his car were she confessed to him that she had been instructed by her party leadership, (more specifically, Howard Dean) on how to politicize the tornado’s destruction of Greensburg and attack the White House and the Iraq war for a seemingly slow response. She reassured the Senator that her allegations didn’t blame him or Pat Roberts, also a Kansas Senator, for the lack of immediate response.
That would explain her public statements to the press that proved later to be untrue. She made statements to the effect that the Iraq war and the deployment of the national guard units to Iraq from her state has left Kansas without the equipment and man power needed to respond more quickly to the tornado’s aftermath. This all turns out to be false and the governor herself has back tracked on her own claims.
Mr. Quinn also revealed that she confessed to Brownback that she couldn’t pass up such an opportunity like this to attack the President whose approval ratings, in this hostile political climate, is so low.
Update 5: Bryan at HotAir has posted on this now. He was able to talk with both Quinn and Rose.
It sounds like the conversations did take place- Quinn and Rose are sticking by their story.