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Bush Defends Federal Response to Katrina

President Bush has again defended the federal government's initial response to Hurricane Katrina, saying it is "preposterous" to claim the Iraq war meant there weren't enough troops available to help victims of the disaster.

Mr. Bush toured the flood-damaged streets of New Orleans Monday, during his third visit to the U.S. Gulf Coast since the region was hit by the storm two weeks ago.

He faced questions from reporters about his own response to the hurricane, saying there will be plenty of time to take a sober look and determine what lessons should be learned.

In the aftermath of Katrina, Mr. Bush's approval ratings in public opinion polls have dropped to the lowest level of his presidency.

Mr. Bush said it will be up to the people of New Orleans to design how their city should look after the crisis is over, and the federal government will help them.

Later, he heads to Gulfport, Mississippi, another city hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The official death toll from the hurricane now stands at more than 400 (including 197 bodies recovered in Louisiana and over 200 dead in Mississippi), but is expected to grow higher.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.