(CNN) - The presidential campaign trail is winding through New Orleans this week. With the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this Wednesday, some of the leading White House hopefuls are visiting a city still try to rebuild from the devastating storm.
Tonight, Sen. Hillary Clinton. D-New York, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, are among the candidates taking part in a Katrina recovery summit in New Orleans. The summit is being hosted by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, and moderated by CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Another Democratic frontrunner, Barack Obama, was in the Crescent City Sunday. The senator from Illinois said he would make rebuilding New Orleans a top priority if he is elected president. "America failed the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans long before that failure showed up on the television set,” said Obama. “America failed you again during Katrina. We cannot and we must not fail you for a third time,"
Obama unveiled his plan to speed up recovery efforts in New Orleans. "We need to make sure that the hardest hit areas get the attention they need and that the jobs of rebuilding go to the folks who've been displaced," said the presidential hopeful. Obama also called for forgiving medical school loans for doctors who set up practice in New Orleans, and said he wants to establish a local office of the Drug Enforcement Agency to help fight crime in the city.
Tonight, rivals Clinton and Edwards will outline their plans to get New Orleans back on its feet. "I believe it's an American responsibility to rebuild New Orleans; not just one of Louisiana and New Orleans, but of all of us working together," said Clinton during a stop in New Orleans in July.
The Democratic presidential hopefuls seem to be spending a good amount of time in New Orleans. Edwards formally announced his White House bid in the city's hard-hit ninth ward last December.
So why all the attention? Because the city's plight has become a national storyline and, aside from the war in Iraq, arguably no other event damaged the Bush White House more than the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.
And the Democrats realize that. Here's Edwards during a stop in New Orleans this summer: "The money is not getting to the ground. It's not getting to people who need help. I think some of it is bureaucracy. I think some if it is red tape. But these are all things the President of the United States could do something about."
- CNN Deputy Political Editor Paul Steinhauser