White House eager to project image of competence

Obama needed to avoid the mistakes of Katrina

Obama is determined not to let Haiti become his administration’s very own Hurricane Katrina fiasco. That is why Obama, in the hours following the announcement of the earthquake in Haiti, ordered an aggressive relief effort and called an emergency meeting at the White House. We know this, in part, thanks to a three-page “ticktock” released by the White House, a minute-by-minute reconstruction of how events unfolded and how Obama responded in the hours and days following the earthquake. The White House has received praise for their response to Haiti, which includes a pledge of $100 million in aid and the deployment of 10,000 troops. Experts agree that disasters can be opportunities for presidents to show their compassion and competence, and the mishandling of the Katrina disaster was a PR disaster the Bush administration never fully recovered from, and a mistake the Obama administration wanted to avoid.

New York Times