Steve Benen: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann campaigned in Florida yesterday, attending services at a Baptist megachurch near Tampa. Afterwards, the right-wing lawmaker offered a rather unique perspective on the weekend’s weather developments:
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
…. under sensible political norms, this should probably be a career-killer for a national political figure …. anyone who thinks the federal budget prompted God to send a hurricane that killed 20 Americans has issues that far exceed flakiness …. Bachmann’s reported remarks should effectively ruin her political ambitions.
Steve Benen: By the close of business yesterday, several conservative voices were pretty worked up about President Obama’s response to the mid-Atlantic earthquake….
…. So, there was an earthquake. The president was made aware of it. There was no serious damage, no casualties, nothing for emergency response teams to do, and nothing for Obama to do. He was kept apprised and went about his afternoon. I don’t know why this is supposed to be interesting.
…. if there’d been an actual disaster, and Obama sat around reading a children’s book while Americans were dying, I could see conservatives getting upset. If Obama had been told a month ago that a serious disaster was poised to happen, and he told the geologists, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now” before ignoring the warnings, the right would have plenty of room for criticism.
…. if we’re going to have a substantive discussion about politics, policy, and natural disasters, perhaps the better place to start would be with Republican efforts to cut funding for the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes, and mocking investments in studying seismic activities…..
President Barack Obama plays golf with Vernon Jordan, Marvin Nicholson and Eric Whitaker, Aug. 23, at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs
President Obama speaks on the phone after the earthquake that was felt in many areas along the country’s east coast
President Obama on Tuesday was updated on the earthquake that occurred in Virginia via a conference call with officials. Here’s the statement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest:
At 2:50 p.m. EDT this afternoon, the President led a conference call with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards with the Department of Interior Dr. David Applegate, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Heidi Avery, and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough to discuss the earthquake and status of critical infrastructure.
The President was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance. The President asked for regular updates on the situation. The President also was provided an update on preparations for Hurricane Irene by Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate.
“My heart goes out to the people of Japan during this enormous tragedy. Please know that America will always stand by one of its greatest allies during their time of need.
Because of the strength and wisdom of its people, we know that Japan will recover and indeed will emerge stronger than ever. And as it recovers, the memory of those who have been lost will remain in our hearts and will serve only to strengthen the friendship between our two countries.
May God Bless the people of Japan.”
President Barack Obama walks out with Japanese Ambassador to US Ichiro Fujisaki after signing the condolence book during his visit the Japanese Embassy in Washington, March 17
President Obama will deliver a statement on Japan at 3:30 PM EDT today – live here