February 27, 2009

Hey, did you know that Katrina ended the minute after the storm passed?

zachary_roth.jpgBoy, TPM Muckraker really hedged their bets with this headline about Jindal's post-Obama speech on Tuesday night:

Jindal Admits Katrina Story Was False

And why was it false? According to TPM's Zachary Roth:

Jindal had described being in the office of Sheriff Harry Lee "during Katrina," and hearing him yelling into the phone at a government bureaucrat who was refusing to let him send volunteer boats out to rescue stranded storm victims, because they didn't have the necessary permits. Jindal said he told Lee, "that's ridiculous," prompting Lee to tell the bureaucrat that the rescue effort would go ahead and he or she could arrest both Lee and Jindal.

But now, a Jindal spokeswoman has admitted to Politico that in reality, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later." The spokeswoman said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, was being interviewed about the incident at the time.

This is no minor difference.

Of course not. Everybody knows that the event we now refer to as "Katrina" was strictly limited to the brief period of time when Louisiana residents could actually reach up and touch the hurricane. After that, the crisis was over! There were no problems at all. (And if there were, nobody directly blamed George Bush for any of them.) So for Jindal to say "during Katrina," when it was actually up to a week later according to Ben Smith at Politico, is obviously the basest, most contemptible sort of lie.

I don't know much about Jindal, and by all accounts his speech was excruciating. (I tried to watch some of it, but it was too awkward. He seems to be the inverse of Obama, in that he's much better at speaking extemporaneously than reading from a teleprompter. Which seems like a good thing, to me anyway.) But he's certainly on his way to passing one big test of presidential politics: withstanding a desperate, fact-twisting smear campaign. I doubt it'll be the last. Which will give him something to talk about with Palin, at least.

When Olbermann reads the printout of this TPM post on-air tonight, I wonder how many times he'll embellish it with "Sir"?

P.S. And when Obama breaks his daily promise, that's totally not a lie. You just misunderstood what he meant. Now go watch some more NASCAR, dummy.

P.P.S. Thanks to charles_star on Twitter for the tip.

P.P.P.S. Sheriff Lee, on the record:

Partial transcript: "Hurricane Katrina, the day after, Bobby was in my office, said, 'What do you need?' And it wasn't phone calls, he was in my office... I know how involved he was... He was hands-on. I got him everywhere he had to go in my helicopter, and he was there all the time. When the thing was over, he'd got equipment for us. And I said, 'Bobby, where did this new equipment come from? I wanna thank somebody.' And he said, 'I took care of it, don't worry about it.'" I hope nobody shows this to Josh Marshall and Zachary Roth. Might ruin their weekend.

P.P.P.P.S. The shifting definition of "during Katrina."

Posted by Jim Treacher at February 27, 2009 01:01 PM