DENVER (CBS4) – Former Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown, who is a Colorado native, offered advice and criticism to President Obama about Hurricane Sandy in an interview with Westword.
Brown, who is now a radio host at KHOW, took a lot of heat for the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He eventually felt forced to leave his post at FEMA because of the backlash.
According to Westword, Brown said he feels President Obama may have been premature with his first announcement about the storm, but he also said he doesn’t think the storm will have a dramatic effect on the presidential race during the final week before Election Day.
“Here’s my concern; people in the northeast are already beginning to blow it off … (New York City Mayor Michael) Bloomberg has shut down the subway … (launched) evacuations … I don’t object … they should be doing all of that,” Brown told Westword. “But in the meantime, various news commentators … (and others) in New York are shrugging their shoulders, saying, ‘What’s this all about?’ It’s premature (when) the brunt of the storm won’t happen until later this afternoon.”
Brown said timing is always important when it comes to making announcements, but he understands why Obama may have chosen to do it before the serious impacts of the storm were eminent.
“My guess is, he wants to get ahead of it — he doesn’t want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics in the middle of it,” he told Westword. “He probably figured Sunday was a good day to do a press conference.”
Obama did hold another new conference on Sandy Monday, however.
Brown also told Westword he believes political pundits are going to make contrast comparisons to his handling of Sandy and the situation in Benghazi, when the president continued on his election campaign.
“It’s the most awkward time … You don’t want to send the wrong message politically … on how seriously you should take it … The message should be, you need to take it seriously.”
Brown told Westword that Obama should get his cabinet together and tell them if current FEMA head Craig Fugate calls and asks for something, he should expect to get whatever he needs.
“The cabinet will fully cooperate and give him whatever he wants.”
Brown said if there’s not serious loss of life in the storm and most of the damage to infrastructure isn’t massive, both Romney and Obama should get back to business and resume campaign activities.
Both campaigns have already rescheduled their canceled dates in Colorado. (RELATED: Romney, Ryan, Obama All Schedule New Colorado Campaign Stops)