An aide to Gov. Chet Culver said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain ignored the governor’s request to cancel a campaign visit amid a massive flood recovery effort in the state.
"As a courtesy — and as we did for Senator Obama — we privately made an effort to make sure that Senator McCain knew that state and local resources were still being deployed to support the flood fight and that now may not be the best time for a campaign trip," Dillon said in a statement.
Senator Obama’s response was to work with state and local authorities to find out how he could best direct the efforts of his supporters interested in volunteering; armed with that information, his campaign has been sending out e-mails to inform his people of those cities not yet hit by the flood that could use help with sandbagging and other preparedness measures.
Senator McCain’s response? Blow off the governor and hold his photo-op.
Even better, per the Des Moines Register:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposed legislation last year that included money for flood control in Des Moines, which shows he is wrong to push for reforms to the congressional earmark system, a Democratic lawmaker charged Thursday.
President Bush eventually vetoed the bill, which authorized more than 900 navigation, flood-control and environmental projects across the country. A report on the bill said the Des Moines metropolitan area suffered more than $152 million in flood damage in 1993.
"The Birdland Park and Central Place levees on the Des Moines River failed during the 1993 flood event and do not provide reliable flood protection, placing nearly 200 homes and businesses at risk," the report said.
Every member of the Iowa congressional delegation voted to override Bush’s veto, the first override of his presidency.
McCain strongly backed Bush.
"This legislation is fundamentally flawed, authorizing nearly 1,000 new projects without any method for prioritizing the needs of our national water infrastructure," he told the Senate. He added that the bill was "full of pork projects and unchecked government spending."
Really, though, as I noticed last month when McCain used a wind-power facility for a prop despite his record of cutting funding for wind power, McCain’s just following in the footsteps of his master in the White House. A hallmark of the Bush administration has been to choreograph massive photo-ops with groups whose funding he’s about to cut. Another favorite thing is to pull firefighters and other first-responders off the job just to make him look good:
A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, “a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.”
What wonderful stagecraft! Leni Riefenstahl would be so proud, if she knew.