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Thursday, September 15, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Governor: Area will be rebuilt

BATON ROUGE, La. — Echoing the words of President Bush a day earlier, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco took responsibility yesterday for failures and missteps in the immediate response to Hurricane Katrina and pledged a united effort to rebuild areas ravaged by the storm.

"We all know that there were failures at every level of government: state, federal and local," Blanco said in a special meeting of the Louisiana Legislature. "At the state level, we must take a careful look at what went wrong and make sure it never happens again. The buck stops here, and as your governor, I take full responsibility."

On Tuesday, Bush for the first time accepted responsibility for federal-government mistakes in dealing with the hurricane and suggested the calamity raised questions about the government's ability to handle both natural disasters and terror attacks.

Blanco called Bush "a friend and partner" in the recovery effort. She described plans for a rebuilding effort that would span all levels of government but would be funded with federal money.

The governor said she would appoint an outside financial adviser to oversee the cash flow. "I assure the Congress and every American taxpayer that every nickel will be properly spent," Blanco said.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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