While Romney surrogate Chris Christie is making waves for the heaps of praise he's been giving the president all morning for his emergency preparedness, one guy who is unimpressed with the president's response is the old FEMA director who was in charge during Hurricane Katrina. Think Progress found this quote from Michael "heckuvajob Brownie" Brown criticizing the president for responding to the storm too quickly:
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in ... Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick? … At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
Brown was famously criticized for his reaction to Hurricane Katrina efforts in 2005. He was told by President Bush, despite all of the criticism, that he was doing a "heckuva job."
The important thing to consider here is that these quotes came on Monday afternoon, before the storm hit. Newt Gingrich criticized the president for the same thing over the weekend, too. On Sunday's episode of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Gingrich went after the president for cancelling campaign events ahead of the storm. "You’ll notice he’s canceling his trips over the hurricane. He did not cancel his trips over Benghazi," he said. This line of thinking is ridiculous, whether it's coming from Brown or Gingrich, considering the amount of destruction that happened overnight. The difference between Benghazi and Sandy is that the storm was a catastrophic event we could see coming, allowing for proper preparation, and not a surprising event that blossomed and played out over the following few days. And the criticism, anyway, is ultimately empty: The essential message isn't that Obama has responded to Sandy unsatisfactorily, it's that Republicans would really like the wider world to start criticizing Obama's response to the attack on the U.S. consulate. In other words, it's an attempt to change the subject.