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CT Gov. Dan Malloy calls Ron Paul an "idiot" over anti-FEMA comments

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September 1, 2011

By David Godow

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Connecticut:

As the eastern seaboard continues to recover from Hurricane Irene, tempers have begun to flare over criticism of the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in American disaster recovery efforts. On Wednesday, Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut called U.S. Rep. and 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) an "idiot" during a CNN interview for suggesting FEMA should be de-funded. Paul has suggested natural disaster recovery should be handled by private insurers.[1]

Malloy's outburst comes as hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents remain without power in the wake of the storm. The governor has said that some customers could be without power for up to a week due to extensive damage to the power grid.[2] Still, he suggested the damage "could have been worse" and, in his CNN interview, credited early warning systems and other FEMA services with preventing further loss of life. Authorities have confirmed two hurricane-related fatalities in Connecticut and 45 across the country. Damage has been reported to coastal homes and the Connecticut, Houstaonic and Farmington rivers have risen considerably beyond flood stage.[3]

Connecticut's power utilities have received some kudos for a faster than expected response to power outages. Though outages peaked at 770,000 immediately following the storm, only about 345,000 remained as of Wednesday.

Ron Paul has previously harshly criticized the agency's 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina as inefficient and wasteful, and some conservative media outlets have taken up his recent call to drop the agency.[4] Opponents of FEMA also point to the federal government's spiraling debt as further reason to find a new disaster management solution that doesn't strain Washington's budget. It remains to be seen whether the spat over FEMA's purpose will last once news coverage of the hurricane's aftermath has dried up.

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