"Disaster Area" in General
President Bush visits various mudslide, fire, and earthquake sites in California, offering federal disaster relief funding if the state promises to become a so-called "red state."
By George Wolfe
INLAND EMPIRE — After a series of mudslides,
and with an historic backdrop of annual wildfires, President Bush
visited various mudslide, fire and earthquake sites in California.
In one speech, Bush declared California to be "a real disaster
area, y'know -- in general."
"California is indeed a situation of
mass destruction… it's truly a danger to the rest of the world.
But with your help we can make it a safer place to live."
— George W. Bush
While admitting that California is "a very
needy state" in terms of receiving federal disaster-relief
funding and that he would do his best to assist the state, Bush
also hinted that relief might come quicker and in larger amounts
if he could "count on California's support" in future
In San Bernardino, near to where fires and mudslides routinely occur, Bush said, "Y'know, there's an old Texas expression, maybe Mexican, that goes: 'Up Shit's Creek once, you're no fool; up Shit's Creek twice, especially without a paddle, and we're all in trouble.'"
The president's interpreter said Bush meant that California was "a big mess."
In San Diego County, where wildfires blackened
the landscape in recent years, Bush said, "California is indeed
a situation of mass destruction… it's truly a danger to the
rest of the world. But with your help we can make it a safer place
to live. I'm reminded of what my friend Kenneth Lay once said: 'Ask
not what you can do for California, ask what California can do for
The president's interpreter said Bush meant that
"the destruction was apparent."
In Paso Robles, where an earthquake destroyed key portions of the
historic downtown in 2003, Bush issued his condolences, "Even
though you fine people of Bam do not share our religion, still,
the point is that we're united with you in spirit, not to mention
our physical bodies, which we mourn here today. But rest assured:
I had a dream—actually, it was a daydream—that some
day you shall be overcome."
The president's interpreter said Bush meant that "the people will overcome adversity."
And in Sacramento, Bush visited with Governor
Schwarzenegger and addressed the state's fiscal disaster. "Y'know…
Ronald Reagan once said 'A penny saved is a penny earned.' I encourage
you people to keep that in mind. The truth of the matter is that
when we talk about deficits, we're really talking about money—and
pennies are money, too. So God bless this great state of Carolina!"
MUDSLIDES: Heavy rains followed wildfires — causing numerous
mudslides such as this one here.
WILDFIRES: Fires such as this one typically occur in the late
summer or fall.
EARTHQUAKES: This building was a victim of the Paso Robles quake