Univision’s Follow-Up Question

Univision’s Adriana Vargas just interviewed President Obama. After three questions about the immigration bill, she asked whether Obama would consider Ray Kelly to run Department of Homeland Security.

Obama, of course, was effusive about the idea of appointing Mr. Stop & Frisk to be in charge of the immigration system.

Vargas: Mr. President, New York Commissioner Ray Kelly has been floated for the next DHS Secretary. What is your take on it?

Obama: Well, Ray Kelly has obviously done an extraordinary job in New York and the federal government partners a lot with New York. Because obviously our concerns about terrorism oftentimes are focused on big city targets. And I think Ray Kelly is one of the best there is. So he’s been an outstanding leader in New York. We’ve had an outstanding leader in Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a tough job. It’s one of the toughest jobs in Washington. She’s done an extraordinary job. We’re sorry to see her go. But you know, we’re going to have a bunch of strong candidates. Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is. But if he’s not I’d want to know about it. ‘Cause you know, obviously he’d be very well qualified for the job.

Janet Napolitano? Outstanding leader.

Ray Kelly? Outstanding leader, according to Obama.

So Vargas then asked about a core DHS failure: Hurricane Sandy Recovery, where just a quarter of families have gotten FEMA relief (about half of the relief funding remains unallocated).

Obama boasts about spending a quarter of the disaster relief funds, then shifts the subject to Shawn Donovan.

AV: I have one last question regarding our geographical area of course and it’s regarding the efforts of recovery after Sandy. Only a quarter of the families have received FEMA resources. What would be your message to those families among them obviously a lot of Latino families?

PBO: Well, you know, we’ve distributed over $4 billion dollars since Sandy happened. $1.4 billion of that has been directly to families through FEMA. And we are continuing to not only try to get resources out. But also I’ve got a team headed up by Shaun Donovan, our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to try to design a rebuilding process that strengthens these communities post-Sandy, so that if there are tragedies in the future they’re in a stronger position than they were. But, you know, individual families it’s always tough. Some may qualify for some assistance, but don’t feel like they’ve gotten everything that they need. You know, we’re doing as much as we can with the resources that we’ve been given from Congress. And we’re in close communication with Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo and all the local municipalities to do everything we can to help businesses and families get back on their feet. And we’re not going to stop until we get it done.

Obama’s “outstanding” head of Homeland Security, of course, is ultimately responsible for Sandy recovery.

And that’s apparently what he sees in Ray Kelly, too.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

8 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    “and we are continuing to not only try to get resources out…”

    a fairie tale:

    once upon a time, no so long ago, some folks were losing their houses

    because the value had dropped and they had lost income and banks weren’t interested in doing business with these customers anymore and the mortgage service companies doing the banks dirtywork were being as mean as ol’ billy hell to those customers.

    right about that time a new president named “barrack the democrat” was elected and he promised to set up a program to help people who were in danger of losing their homes work with banks to refinance their homes.

    it all seemed so fair, so good, so full of hope.

    barrack the democrat assured his loyal citizens that the program was working.

    but the theprogram was located in the treasury department, paperwork was ferocious, eligible people were declared ineligible, and too few by a great many homes were saved from foreclosure.

    alas, barrack the democrat had far more important presidential jobs to do; he forgot about the loyal citizens losing their houses.

    and no more was ever again heard of this hump-the-unfortunate program.

    hurricane sandy occurred in the last 10 days of october, 2012 and barrack the democrat on july 15, 2013 asdures his loyal citizens that

    “…we are continuing to try… to get resources out…”.

    this president cares; really, he does.

  2. joanneleon says:

    Really bad timing to announce someone like Ray Kelly for this job.

    I hope he’s not really considering him for this job. That would be a disaster.

  3. joanneleon says:

    Heck, maybe Ray Kelly already was running Homeland Security to some extent. He certainly acted like he had jurisdiction over everything for hundreds of miles.

  4. Bill Michtom says:

    That Obama has good things to say about Ray Kelly, a man who defines racial profiling and unconstitutional surveillance, says everything we need to know about both of them.

  5. citizen92 says:

    Donovan was named to be Sandy recovery czar. DHS certainly has a piece through FEMA immediate disaster response, but HUD is pouring billions into CDBG-funded rebuild and remediation plans in NY, NYC, and NJ. Plus Donovan was the head housing official for the City of NY before joining the admin. Donovan knows the territory.

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