Former President George W. Bush appeared Tuesday in a taped episode of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' (weekdays, syndicated) to promote his new memoir 'Decision Points.'
At one point in the conversation, Winfrey queried Bush about his response (or lack thereof) to Hurricane Katrina -- he had flown over the devastation and seen it first hand. Winfrey asked him "why didn't you in that moment say 'I'm going to take charge'?" Bush answered with a typically Bush-mangled response about not being able to send in "law enforcement under the law ... I could send in the armed military if they weren't armed. I wasn't gonna put a troop in combat ... combat's not the right word ... troop in harms way without the capacity to defend him or herself" ... but "knowing what I know today, I would have sent them in."
But what really bothered Bush in retrospect was being called a racist because his response to the situation was slow. There were some pundits and black political and cultural figures who opined that if he had flown over the devastation and it had been middle-class white people down there -- and not poor, disenfranchised, blacks -- he would have acted faster. That really hurt, he said. "You can disagree with my politics, but don't ever accuse me of being a racist."