Newsday: "WE QUESTION THE TIMING OF THIS HURRICANE!
Ladies and Gents, the highlights (in extended entry):
* Once Hurricane Charley is gone from Florida, it's a safe bet President Bush will sweep in. Natural calamities present political opportunity, and many crucial electoral votes are in the path of Charley's howling winds.
* Bush swiftly issued a disaster declaration to expedite federal aid as Charley tore into the Florida Gulf Coast on Friday. He was acting on a request that had come from his brother Jeb, the governor...
* Officials are loath to ascribe campaign motives to emergency response, but politics infuses everything this close to an election. No more so than in the state that handed Bush the presidency.
* The hurricane bore down not only on the scene-stealing state of the last election, but one of the most politically dynamic parts of it -
* For Bush, lessons of disaster politics are close to home. His father's political advisers were caught flat-footed at a similar point of the campaign cycle -- August 1992 -- when Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc in Florida.
* Barring an obviously inept performance from the White House, natural disasters inoculate presidents from campaign criticism for a time..
* Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, for example, won't let himself be seen as begrudging Floridians federal relief dollars no matter how generous, analysts say.
* In 1992, Democratic candidate Bill Clinton toured Andrew's aftermath but carefully avoided jabbing at his opponent over the halting response
* Clinton's on-the-scene empathy after the Oklahoma City bombing moved people during a low point in his presidency, and his visits to disasters including Midwestern floods became a tour de force.
I ask you. Bias or not?