Tales from the Trail

Laura Bush says every president faces unfair criticism

Former first lady Laura Bush says every president is unfairly criticized and it comes from both friends and foes.

She spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” from the Gulf Coast, where she is on a visit for the fifth anniversary of  Hurricane Katrina. USA/LAURABUSHHer husband, former President George W. Bush and his administration were sharply criticized for slow federal response to the disaster.

“The differences are huge now, five years later. Each time I came there was a little bit of improvement, but really now I think after five years things are starting to look great,” she said.

She was asked about writing in her book about the criticism her husband faced for flying over New Orleans after Katrina and not stopping, but said there was a purpose behind that.

“If Air Force One had landed in New Orleans that day, all of the assets that were actually being used to help people, the first responders, many of those first responders would be required to go to the airport even just from Air Force One  landing. And he knew that and he didn’t want to use any of the assets that were being used in other ways to rescue people,” she said.

Brad Pitt tries out role as lobbyist

brad1Hollywood star Brad Pitt made the rounds in Washington on Thursday keeping a low profile while calling on some some high-profile people to promote sustainable housing.******Pitt dropped by the White House for a private meeting with President Barack Obama but the White House said there was “no read-out” on the visit.******Pitt also went to Capitol Hill to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip James Clyburn. He joined them for that time-honored Washington tradition: a media availability behind a bank of microphones.******Pitt thanked Pelosi for taking time to talk to him about the post-hurricane rebuilding effort going on in New Orleans, where his “Make it Right” foundation is constructing sustainable houses for low-income residents in the city’s Lower 9th Ward.***    ***Pelosi hailed Pitt as a role model. Clyburn thanked Brad for his help …  and for giving him bragging rights.******”I did not realize when the speaker asked me to chair the Katrina- Rita Task Force that it would lead to my getting in a position to make my grandchildren so envious of me because this effort brought the two of us, Brad Pitt and myself, together,” the South Carolina Democrat said.  ***   ***For the record, Pitt was flying solo on the Hill.  Angelina Jolie was making her own low-key appearance in town shooting a scene for a movie in a blond wig.