US President George W. Bush said Tuesday that he took responsibility for slow government response to Hurricane Katrina, which pounded southern United States in later August causing heavy human and economic losses.
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint news conference at the White House with visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," he said.
Bush made the remarks in response to a question whether people should be worried about the government's ability to handle another terrorist attack given failures in responding to Katrina.
"Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That's a very important question and it's in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond," Bush said,
The president said he wanted to know what went right and what went wrong.
On Monday, Bush named R. David Paulison, a career firefighter with three decades of disaster-response experience, to replace Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, hours after Brown's resignation.
Brown was relieved of his responsibilities to lead ground recovery operations in the hurricane-ravaged areas last Friday, amid growing criticism on the government's slow response to the disaster.