The next morning, I went shopping at the Ferragamo shoe store down the block from my hotel, returned to the Palace to await Randy and Mariann’s arrival, and again turned on the television. The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. And the faces of most of the people in distress were black. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington. I called my chief of staff, Brian Gunderson. “I’m coming home,” I said.
“Yeah. You’d better do that,” he answered.
Then I called the President. “Mr. President, I’m coming back. I don’t know how much I can do, but we clearly have a race problem,” I said.