Ray Nagin on Katrina Response, Mayoral Runoff

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New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin speaks to supporters after a runoff election was declared April 22.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin speaks to supporters after a runoff election was declared April 22. hide caption

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New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, in a tight runoff race with the state's current lieutenant governor to keep his post, vowed the city will be ready for the coming hurricane season and rebuffed claims in a recently published book that he was an ineffective leader as the storm ravaged the city last August.

"It's all bogus, a political hit, not worth the paper it's printed on," Nagin said about allegations by historian Douglas Brinkley in his book The Great Deluge that portrays the mayor as unable to lead as his city flooded, and of implementing an evacuation plan that favored the rich and healthy.

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"We had a good evacuation plan, and we evacuated over 90 percent of city," he told News & Notes host Ed Gordon. "The decisions I made saved lives." But he added he did take responsibility for not calling for a mandatory evacuation earlier, and said he was overly dependent on the state and federal government to help.

On Saturday, Nagin faces off with Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, the son of the city's last white mayor, Maurice Edwin "Moon" Landrieu, who served from 1970 to 1978. Mitch Landrieu is a narrow favorite in the most recent poll, but up to 17 percent of eligible voters say they are still undecided.



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