...Dr. Anderson Spickard, who is Gore's personal physician and accompanied him on the flights, said: 'Gore told me he wanted to do this because like all of us he wanted to seize the opportunity to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has.' ...."
He...recruited two doctors, Spickard and Gore's cousin, retired Col. Dar LaFon, a specialist in internal medicine who once ran the military hospital in Baghdad. Most critically, Gore worked to cut through government red tape, personally calling Gov. Phil Bredesen to get Tennessee's support and U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta to secure landing rights in New Orleans."
At liberal blog community TPMCafe, Greg Simon, President of FasterCures, gives a fascinating account of the makeshift partnership between former Vice President Gore and FasterCures to "to airlift approximately 270 medical patients and evacuees from the New Orleans airport to hospitals and shelters in Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee."
This must-read is a factual, shocking inside-gaze at the federal "rescue" effort. FEMA tried desperately to stop this mercy mission. ("Over the next three hours...I was called by an array of Majors and Lieutenant Commanders telling me to stop. Major Webb from GPMRC , Grant Meade from ESF. Major Lindquist from TRANSCOM all telling me they would not cooperate and they did not know how we had gotten permission to land.")
One big challenge of this mission of mercy was to obtain landing clearance in New Orleans. It took Gore's connections to make it happen. According to blogger Greg Simon, "Sen. Barack Obama called Gore and asked how had Gore managed to land in New Orleans when the Senator had been refused landing rights to help."
It's not only a heartwarming example of compassionate leadership by the Democratic candidate for the 2000 presidency, but it's also a compelling contrast in the post-Hurricane Katrina period to the actions of George W. Bush, the self-dubbed compassionate conservative who Gore apparently beat in the 2000 Presidential election.
While Mr. Gore was actively working and writing personal checks to save the lives of 270 New Orleans residents.....well, as DocLarry at his Lost Chord blog so eloquently reminds us, 'Many on the Right argue that we shouldn't play the 'blame game' while Hurricane Katrina survivors still need help. Some have attempted to shift blame for the slow federal relief response away from George Bush.
But they cannot avoid one simple fact: while thousands of Americans fought for their lives during the worst natural disaster in this nation's history, GEORGE W. BUSH STAYED ON VACATION."