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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Jeb Bush Speaks On Hurricane Charley

Aired August 13, 2004 - 17:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaking now in Tallahassee. Let's listen in.
JEB BUSH, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: So we hope that they are doing so, as it moves inland. And we'll be, tomorrow, working with our local partners to begin as quickly as possible the effort for reconstruction of our family life, as well as community life in our state. With that, we'd be happy to answer any questions.

QUESTION: What communication have you had with southwest Florida since the eye came across?

BUSH: We have, just in the last hour, had contact with each of the directors, but for Charlotte County, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just talked to Charlotte, sir.

BUSH: Well, we didn't talk to the director.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't talk to the director.

BUSH: But we have talked to all of the emergency operation centers in Collier, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee county. And the problem right now is that it's really early to make an accurate assessment of the damage. Some of the information is anecdotal, it's just coming in. And so, as the storm passes, teams will come into the communities from, under our direction here, as well as the teams that are set up locally, to be able to make those assessments. It's just a little bit early right now, Mike (ph).

QUESTION: Do you think it will surpass the $15 billion that we talked about earlier?

BUSH: I don't know. The $15 billion was based on a computer model, just to put it in perspective, that was definitely a dramatically different model than this one. That was the model of this morning, as you recall, had the storm, based on the National Weather Service heading more closely -- going closer to the Tampa Bay area.

So right now we're not -- those are really, kind of, questions for tomorrow and the next day. Now the question is, how do we protect citizens from this fierce storm? And then we will deal with the issues of how to recover.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that there was too much emphasis put on the Tampa landfall and the direction it would take, and that some other people might have (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

BUSH: No, no. Not at all. Because I think that if you see where the counties that began the process of mandatory evacuations, you'll find that they were in southwest Florida, which was more than appropriate. It's a good lesson. I'll tell you, it's nice to remember the lessons of Mother Nature. Hurricanes aren't linear thinkers. They don't act linearly. They are fierce weather systems that don't go exactly where a computer model will suggest that they go, which is why this was a statewide emergency and why, throughout the state, there's been a coordinated effort and every community has been involved and focused on this long before today.

QUESTION: Do you know what the highest wind was as it came ashore?

BEN NELSON, STATE METEOROLOGIST: My name is Ben Nelson, state meteorologist with the Florida division of emergency management. At approximately 3:45 p.m., the center, the eye of Hurricane Charley, came ashore very close to Sanibel Island and then into Charlotte...

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