Federalism sprang to the forefront in public debates about the response to Hurricane Katrina as officials from the national, state, and local government sought to shift blame to other levels of government. Our analysis shows that attempts by national political actors to frame the response as the fault of state government actions were successful, but the size of the effect was conditional on predispositions. Those who were more attentive to coverage were more likely to believe that state failure to call for help had a great effect on the length of time it took for national government to provide aid to New Orleans. The effect was strongest for Republicans, however, suggesting that predispositions mediate acceptance of elite frames that transfer blame.

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