What must make this irony especially painful for Bush is that he knew how good Witt was. In fact, Bush knew it coming and going. When he was helping run his father's 1992 re-election campaign, he saw the miserable federal response from FEMA when it was still a dumping ground for political hacks. As a governor, Bush was so impressed by the agency's renaissance under Witt that he singled him out for praise in his first presidential debate with Al Gore:
You know, as governor, one of the things you have to deal with is catastrophe. I can remember the fires that swept Parker County, Texas. I remember the floods that swept our state. I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas. I have to pay the administration a compliment. James Lee Witt of FEMA has done a really good job of working with governors during times of crisis.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,
My name is Bill Clark, and I am the deputy Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I have over 40 years of experience at the city, county, state and federal level in emergency services. I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the Nation's readiness to medically respond to acts of biological terrorism against civilian populations within the United States .
How about the Bush appointee for Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Alex Michael Azar
Prior to joining HHS, Azar was a partner with the firm Wiley, Rein & Fielding in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in litigation and appellate practice involving white collar criminal defense and internal investigations, congressional investigations, government ethics, administrative law and employment counseling.