From transcript of NBC News Meet the Press
"SEC'Y POWELL: I don't think that's the case at all. We were engaged on day one, hour one with the standing up of task forces. The president was involved from the very beginning and was kept informed."
Given that Hong Kong is 13 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. and that the Abraham Lincoln task force sailed sometime Tuesday local time, that means they sailed no later than 11 AM Tuesday in Washington (probably earlier). So Secretary Powell's comment about "day one, hour one" is consistent with the traditional question "Where are the carriers?" With thousands of men on liberty it would take time to round them up and prepare to sail. So getting them on their way well before Kofi Annan returned from his ski trip is something of a coup. It certainly puts paid to the Democratic anklebiters complaint that the President did not make a public statement in a timely fashion. He made a much more important statement "Send in the carriers."
And where would the relief efforts have been without that decision? The Democrats have no answer, so they are in effect lying about the President's actions. Note that Tim Russert does not ask any Democrat "Where were you when the ship hit the sand?" Now that Dan Rather et al. are aboard the Abraham Lincoln, would it be too much to ask to have them establish the timeline for its voyage to Sumatra? What day and hour did they sail from Hong Kong, transposed into Washington time?