President touring Gulf Coast

Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck,

President Bush has been touring muddy New Orleans -- and defending
the federal response to the storm.
However, he's also promising to "learn lessons."

The president spoke to reporters after visiting several flooded neighborhoods in the Crescent City.

The federal response to Katrina has been roundly criticized as inept. And some have suggested that's because the storm's victims were mostly black and poor. Bush rejected that, saying, "The storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort."

Bush also rejected suggestions the U-S military is stretched too thinly to fight in Iraq and join in hurricane relief. Bush said that's "preposterous" -- there are "plenty of troops to do both."

Bush's day began with a briefing from disaster officials on the U-S-S Iwo Jima, docked in the Mississippi River. After the New Orleans, Bush took off in a helicopter to fly over nearby parishes.