Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

“Unfortunately, [the death toll]’s going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings,” Brown told CNN. “I don’t make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans,” he said.

Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security:

Some people chose not to obey [the evacuation order]. That was a mistake on their part.

Bill O’Reilly, conservative talkshow host on FOX News:

Moral of the story: People were warned to get out. Those who stayed paid a price for that decision. If you rely on the government, you’re likely to be disappointed. No government can protect you or provide for you. You have to do it yourself.

Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois:

And so I hope that out of this crisis we all begin to reflect – Democrat and Republican – on not only our individual responsibilities to ourselves and our families, but to our mutual responsibilities to our fellow Americans. I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren’t just abandoned during the Hurricane. They were abandoned long ago – to murder and mayhem in their streets; to substandard schools; to dilapidated housing; to inadequate health care; to a pervasive sense of hopelessness.

That is the deeper shame of this past week – that it has taken a crisis like this one to awaken us to the great divide that continues to fester in our midst. That’s what all Americans are truly ashamed about, and the fact that we’re ashamed about it is a good sign. The fact that all of us – black, white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat – don’t like to see such a reflection of this country we love, tells me that the American people have better instincts and a broader heart than our current politics would indicate.

(first three via American Progress)