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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Cheney to visit US disaster zone
President Bush meets hurricane victims
President Bush has visited the area twice in the past week
Vice-President Dick Cheney is due to visit the Gulf coast of the US to assess rescue and relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

His visit comes amid fresh accusations from opposition politicians over what they describe as President Bush's initial slow response to the crisis.

Opinion polls suggest the US is divided along party political lines in judging the administration's performance.

Thousands are feared to have died in the hurricane and subsequent flooding.

Mr Bush, who made his second tour of the devastated area earlier this week, said Mr Cheney would examine recovery efforts and cut any bureaucratic red tape.

The vice-president and his wife Lynne are due to meet local officials and emergency workers, as well as touring disaster sites in Gulfport, Mississippi, and New Orleans.

Evacuees' protest

Meanwhile, a group of people who left New Orleans in the wake of the hurricane will stage a protest outside the White House.

The demonstration is being organised by Move On, a left-wing campaigning group.

BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb says the number of evacuees who will attend will not be large - but the images created will be unhelpful to the Bush administration cause.

Soldiers unloading boxes of bottled water from a truck
Rescue and relief efforts took days to get into full swing
A CNN/USA Today Gallup survey suggests that 42% of Americans feel that Mr Bush has done a "bad" or "terrible" job of dealing with the hurricane and its aftermath.

Thirty-five per cent rate his performance "good" or "great".

The poll highlighted a partisan split over Mr Bush's handling of the crisis, with 69% of Republicans satisfied while 66% of Democrats were unhappy.

The survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday, also found Americans divided over whom to blame - 25% accused state or local officials of failing, 18% accused Washington and 13% blamed Mr Bush directly.

Our correspondent says the nation is plainly not united as it was after the 9/11 attacks, but Mr Bush's core supporters are, it seems, sticking with him.

Inquiry calls

Presidential and Congressional plans for inquiries into how the disaster was handled have been questioned by the opposition Democrats, who have raised the idea of an independent commission.

President Bush said on Tuesday he would lead an investigation himself as two Senate committees began separate inquiries.

But Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton has called for the creation of a "Katrina Commission".

"The president said he's going to look into it - I think that can be useful, but at the end of the day, just like with 9/11, we need independent experts," she said.

"We need people with different kinds of experiences to take a hard look at everything that was done."


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