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Congressional Leaders Visit Flooded North Texas

By Bill Zeeble, KERA reporter

Haltom City, TX – Bill Zeeble: On Bonanza Drive, by Whites Branch Creek, some mobile homes sit lopsided off their foundations, or fallen, smashed, and abandoned.
Relief organizations are still tallying the cost of the damage. Senator John Cornyn said he asked for and President Bush approved disaster relief for Haltom City and a total of 6 Texas Counties last week.

Texas Senator John Cornyn: But there's more needs and we'll try to broaden that out, working with the governor's office to get the so-called public assistance.

Zeeble: Cornyn says he came in person to meet and talk to those affected by the flooding, especially since more rain's expected. His assessment of this weather-worn landscape - with media in tow - comes as he sizes up the political landscape, which is already producing Democratic opponents for next year's re-election. Wealthy democratic attorney Mikal Watts of San Antonio has already matched Cornyn's war chest with $4 million of his own. And State Representative Rick Noriega , a Houston Democrat , who served in Afghanistan, is expected to announce an exploratory committee next week. Though some observers believe Cornyn's close ties with President Bush may bruise him, the senator is backing Bush on his controversial decision to commute Lewis Libby's sentence.

Cornyn: The crimes of Mr. Libby were serious crimes. Question is whether perjury :32 is deserving of a prison sentence . But that's within the power of the president to grant - commutation. I think it's notable he didn't grant an outright pardon. Which is within his power. But that's up the President to do and I don't have a quarrel 849/6 with what he's decided.

Zeeble: While happy to talk about flood relief, Cornyn said he was too busy to take questions about opponents lining up to challenge him. For KERA 90.1 I'm Bill Zeeble