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Michael Brown On FEMA's Failures

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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EMERGENCY SESSION Bush, Brown, Chertoff (Photo: Getty Images)

The latest FEMA fiasco has nothing to do with the agency's embattled former leader Michael Brown. But that didn't stop Brownie from laying into the Bush Administration, FEMA, and the media in an interview today with Radar.

He began by criticizing the way that his former bosses, President Bush and Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff, are trying to spin the California wildfires."The fires are, to a certain extent, a CNN disaster. When the media is covering a story so intently, as they are the fires, it's important for politicians to show they're actively involved," Brown said. "Which is why you have the president and Chertoff going out there and hugging people."

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So they're exploiting the disaster to make themselves look good? "It's precisely that. It's an easy opportunity to take advantage of. They're saying, 'Look, we learned the lesson from Katrina. And we fixed things and we're paying attention.'"

But any comparison between Katrina and the wildfires is completely absurd, Brown said. "I get a real kick out of the media and FEMA talking about how great Qualcomm Stadium was. We've got Hyatt hotels catering food; we've got face painting. It's a real picnic atmosphere. It wasn't surrounded by 12-feet of toxic floodwaters. It didn't have the roof ripped off."

"The fires are bad, but you just can't make that comparison to Katrina. But of course, that's what the Administration wants to do," he said.

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