COMMENTS: Texas Chainsaw Pushback

None of the networks had its White House correspondent join the President's trip to Kansas. CBS and ABC both assigned the visit to reporters already on the ground in Greensburg; NBC mentioned it only in passing. Besides offering consolation, the residual political question concerned whether the reaction of the Kansas National Guard was compromised because of its deployment in Iraq. Gov Kathleen Sebelius, who is a Democrat, "pressed that issue on Monday," ABC's Barbara Pinto (subscription required) recalled, "but today she had no complaints." When a chainsaw wielding Bush staged a photo-op with National Guardsmen, CBS' Hari Sreenivasan interpreted it as "a subtle way to push back on criticism that Guard resources are strained." When the President was asked about the controversy "he either ignored the question or did not hear it."

As for the town itself, Sreenivasan pointed out that the local wheat harvest begins in one month and the twister destroyed the bin loading mechanism at the town's feed and grain co-op. Pinto focused on a rebuilding deadline of August when school starts: if parents register their children elsewhere they may decide never to return.


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