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Michael Brown, ex-FEMA head, criticizes Obama for reacting to Sandy too fast

Michael Brown, who took heavy criticism for his response to Hurricane Katrina, said Obama's press conference Sunday was premature.

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Michael Brown, the former Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), delivers the keynote address at the Oakland County Homeland Security Conference June 7, 2006 in Waterford, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Brown, the ex-head of FEMA who came under fire for his response to 2005's Hurricane Katrina, somewhat ironically critiqued President Obama's response to Sandy as too speedy.

"Here's my concern," Brown said in a radio interview with KHOW on Monday, alternative paper the Denver Westward reported. "People in the northeast are already beginning to blow it off. Bloomberg has shut down the subway...[launched] evacuations. I don't object...they should be doing all of that. But in the meantime, various news commentators...[and others] in New York are shrugging their shoulders, saying, 'What's this all about?' It's premature [when] the brunt of the storm won't happen until later [Monday] afternoon."

"My guess is, he wants to get ahead of it — he doesn't want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics in the middle of it," Brown added. "He probably figured Sunday was a good day to do a press conference."

Brown also compared Obama's response to Sandy to his reaction to the Benghazi attacks.

"One thing he's gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in...Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?" Brown said. "Why was this so quick?... At some point, somebody's going to ask that question.... This is like the inverse of Benghazi." 

More from GlobalPost: New York and New Jersey are now major disaster areas: What does that mean?

Obama held a press conference at FEMA headquarters in Washington on Sunday, in addition to another one Monday to reassure Americans that disaster relief, not the election, was his first priority, ABC News reported

"I am not worried at this point on the impact on the election. I'm worried about the impact on families and our first responders," Obama said. "The election will take care of itself next week." 

Brown, who drew widespread criticism for FEMA's response to Katrina in New Orleans when he was at the helm of the organization, isn't the only one critiquing Obama for being "too quick" to respond: Right-wing commentators like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and columnist Charles Krauthammer have also made similar comments, ThinkProgress reported

More from GlobalPost: Sandy makes life difficult for Romney

FEMA's new head, 53-year-old W. Craig Fugate, has been responsible for the organization's regained credibility with his extensive background in emergency response (part of the criticism of Brown was that he had no disaster relief experience at all.) 

“If I were President Obama, I’d be very secure in the knowledge that” Fugate is “there handling things,” Bryan Koon, his successor at Florida’s emergency agency, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121030/michael-brown-ex-fema-head-criticizes-obama