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Buried Lede Department: Why No Presidential Candidate Says Anything of Substance About the Disaster in New Orleans

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The president's head of Gulf Coast recovery, Donald Powell, has submitted his resignation, and, judging by the time that has passed without the naming of his successor, Gulf Coast recovery doesn't -- big surprise! -- seem to be a high priority for the administration.

Neither, according to Powell, does it seem to be one for those who would come next. Way at the bottom of a generally laudatory Times-Picayune writeup of Powell's farewell interview with the paper comes this, which should have been the lede of the story:

But none of the three U.S. senators still running for president showed much of an interest in working with him, he said. Powell recalled talking with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., a couple of times about recovery issues, but said he spoke with former President Clinton more often because of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Powell said he didn't recall talking to the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, nor to Clinton's Democratic primary opponent, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, although his staff dealt with Obama when he accompanied Lieberman on a tour of New Orleans in early 2007.

Well, no wonder none of them has anything of substance to say about the disaster in New Orleans, no comment on the movement for an 8/29 Commission to examine all the causes and deficiencies in response to the flooding of the city, no comment on the affordable-housing crisis still gripping the city, no comment on the deficiency in mental-health personnel and facilities still facing the city, no comment in depth on the need for a comprehensive plan for coastal wetland restoration to protect the city. And before you Edwards fans write in, his most substantive recommendation on his website's New Orleans section was for more cops.

Maybe, someday, some enterprising reporter (do they still have those?) will ask each of the remaining candidates for the presidency why they didn't show much of an interest in working with the administration's point man for the recovery. Until then, we're free to draw our own conclusions.