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Bush Draws Parallels Between Hurricane, September 11 Attacks


President Bush says Americans will come together and rebuild areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina in the same way they came together following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington four years ago. Democrats say the slow pace of the administration's response to the hurricane shows the nation is not sufficiently prepared for another disaster.

As Americans mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks Sunday, President Bush says the despair and tragedy of that day gave way to selflessness, courage, and compassion.

"Four years later, Americans remember the fears and uncertainty and confusion of that terrible morning," President Bush said. "But, above all, we remember the resolve of our nation to defend our freedom, rebuild a wounded city and care for our neighbors in need."

President Bush says Americans have exhibited those qualities again in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast since it hit nearly two weeks ago.

"Once more, our hearts ache for our fellow citizens, and many are left with questions about the future," he said. "Yet, we are again being reminded that adversity brings out the best in the American spirit."

Both members of President Bush's Republican party and opposition Democrats have criticized the slow pace of the government response to Katrina, especially the work of Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Mike Brown, who was replaced Friday as the principal federal officer in charge of relief efforts on the ground.

President Bush has vowed to investigate what went wrong with the response to Katrina, but Democratic lawmakers say an inquiry by the Republican-led Congress will not be impartial.

They want an independent review like the commission that investigated the September 11 attacks.

In the Democratic radio address, Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson says hurricane victims are suffering, because the federal government was unprepared for the scale of the disaster, after Republicans cut funding for local fire and rescue squads.

"This is funding for resources on the local level to defend our families, protect our communities and respond during times of crisis," Congressman Thompson said. "Diminishing the ability of our sheriffs, police, firefighters and all first responders to get the job done is simply unacceptable."

Congressman Thompson says mothers and grandmothers should not have drowned in nursing homes because help was too late to arrive.

The White House says it will not take part in what it calls "the blame game" over Hurricane Katrina, and says, right now, it is focused on getting help to people who need it.

President Bush marks Sunday's anniversary of the September 11 attacks with a church service and moment of silence, before returning to the southern states of Mississippi and Louisiana to meet with those affected by the storm.

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