Friday, September 02, 2005
Hastert feeling sorry that he was a blatant P.O.S. - via nola.com
By Bill WalshWashington bureauWASHINGTON -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who infuriated Louisiana officials by raising questions about rebuilding New Orleans, plans to call Gov. Kathleen Blanco to mend some fences, his spokesman said Friday night."He's reaching out to her," spokesman Ron Bonjean said.The Illinois Republican was quoted in a Chicago-area newspaper Wednesday questioning the wisdom of spending billions of dollars rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of deadly hurricanes.Louisiana elected officials quickly assailed the powerful lawmaker and Blanco demanded an apology.Hastert's office quickly issued a clarification of his comments, saying that he supports the rebuilding of the 297-year-old city, only in a way that makes it more resistant to hurricanes. According to a transcript of the interview with the editorial board of the Daily Herald, Hastert said, "It looks like a lot of that place will have to be bulldozed.""His comments were misinterpreted," Bonjean said. "He believes New Orleans should be rebuilt."Hastert was in Washington Friday to oversee the passage of a $10.5 billion emergency aid package for the Gulf Coast states. He also plans to send along some of his own money. He auctioned off a 1970s vintage Lincoln Mark II Continental and, Bonjean said, plans to donate tens of thousands of dollars to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.