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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Reed defends Atlanta's snowstorm response everywhere and to anyone that will let him

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Mayor Kasim Reed has spent the last two days working to clean up Atlanta's streets after Winter Storm Leon. But as many metro Atlanta residents and outside observers criticize the city's and state's lack of preparation, the mayor has been forced to defend - and in many cases apologize - for his leadership alongside Gov. Nathan Deal.

In the past 24 hours, Reed made several national TV news appearances including interviews with CNN's Carol Costello, MSNBC Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski, NBC Today's Matt Lauer. Meanwhile, other news pundits likened the "world-class city" of Atlanta to a "third-world country."

The mayor kept to his talking points on the morning talk shows: No one died. Yes, there was chaotic traffic and poor coordination among agencies. But the city of Atlanta was on top of its game. At least we did better than 2011. Did I say that no one died?

"It's not solely about my call,'' Reed told Lauer. "In the city of Atlanta, we have the state, we have myself, and we have the school system, which are all separate. Almost every photo that you just showed is not in the city of Atlanta. In fact, within 24 hours, the roads in the city of Atlanta were more than 80 percent passable. I just reviewed your report and it focused most exclusively on our city's highways, which the city does not have jurisdiction for, and most of those simply are not in the city of Atlanta."

Atlanta Deputy Editor Rebecca Burns succinctly noted in her excellent Politico explainer: "Atlanta, the city, should not be confused with Atlanta, the region." But he also shared the blame with Gov. Nathan Deal without finding a scapegoat. "I shared what I was responsible for. We should have made a different judgment about how we released our citizens as we got a million citizens out of our city," Reed said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

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The AJC reports that Reed won't be doing any more interviews for the rest of the day. Back to work!

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