As Hurricane Gustav threatens the Gulf Coast,

President Bush is out to show the nation that his government has

learned the haunting lessons of Katrina and is ready to act. That

includes a rapid response by Bush himself, who will be planted near

the danger zone even before the storm hits home.

Bush leaves Monday morning for Texas, a staging ground for

emergency response efforts and a shelter state for Gulf Coast

evacuees. The president is expected to visit Austin and San Antonio

on the same day that Gustav, already a deadly force, is likely to

make landfall in the United States.

Hurricane conditions are predicted anywhere from the coast of

Texas to the Alabama-Florida line, including New Orleans in


This was supposed to be the day that Bush stepped into the 2008

presidential race in his most prominent way to date. But he

scuttled his prominent speech at the Republican National

Convention, which was to tout Sen. John McCain, in favor of his own

presidential duty.

The entire convention lineup was cut back, in fact, as a nation