The Note: Found in the Flood

Judy Keen's news analysis in USA Today says it all: possible pivot point, one speech can't change everything, partisanship won't end in Washington, Joe Lockhart isn't mollified (to say the least), there was no bullhorn, blah, blah, blah. LINK

The New York Times and ABC's Dean Reynolds found a similar positive and hopeful reaction to the President's speech from evacuees. LINK

John McKinnon of the Wall Street Journal calls the speech "hopeful and sympathetic."

From Dick Stevenson's New York Times analysis: LINK

"It was not the president's most stirring speech, but it conveyed a sense of command far more than his off-key efforts in the days immediately after the storm, when he often seemed more interested in bucking up government officials than in addressing the dire situation confronting hundreds of thousands of displaced and desperate people."

"But if the speech helped him clear his first hurdle by projecting the aura of a president at the controls, it probably did not, by itself, get him over a second: his need to erase or at least blur the image of a White House that was unresponsive to the plight of some of the country's most vulnerable citizens and failed to manage the government competently."

The Washington Post's Dan Balz looks beyond the text of Bush's speech and writes that the "clear subtext" was "the rebuilding of a presidency that is now at its lowest point ever, confronted by huge and simultaneous challenges at home and abroad -- and facing a country divided along partisan and racial lines." LINK

Balz, like everyone else sensible, cares more about facts on the ground than the speech.

In his New York Post column, John Podhoretz wonders if President Bush alienated his conservative base. LINK

"The speech was meant to portray Mr. Bush as a forceful leader in control of the crisis and sympathetic to the people in the region," writes Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times in her straightforward lead news of day piece focused on the federal rebuilding efforts proposed by the President. LINK

Ed Chen and Mary Curtius of the Los Angeles Times courteously tuck away most of the political dimensions of last night's speech until the end, writing that "the speech also represented an attempt to restore the president's credibility at a time when his approval ratings had fallen to new lows. The Katrina crisis appears to have eroded support for the fight against terrorism, the Iraq war effort and the president's second-term domestic policy initiatives." LINK

"Once again, he has delivered a speech that will reassure many Americans that he understands the enormity of the event and the demands of leadership to come," writes the New York Times editorial board. The editorial goes on to express some concern about the Administration's ability to follow through and uses Iraq as an example, but the lede will no doubt make White House advisers breathe a bit of a sigh of relief this morning. LINK

Per the Washington Post's VandeHei and Baker, the "compassionate conservative" rhetoric and religious overtones of the President's address reflected "not only Bush's own faith but also his decision to bring back Michael J. Gerson," his first-term speechwriter who is now a policy adviser. LINK

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