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WASHINGTON (CAP) - Fresh off a 13-day stint in jail for violating her probation, troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan found herself the focus of the White House yesterday as she began 90 days in rehab. Saying "the time is right to begin healing," President Barack Obama declared the 24-year-old actress a federal disaster area.
"Her string of issues and lengthy list of incidences are of such severity and such magnitude that an effective response is beyond California's capacity to recover without supplementary state and federal assistance," Obama told reporters during the announcement.
Obama's declaration makes people and businesses in Los Angeles county eligible for rehab, counseling and other low-cost programs to help them recover from Lohan-related damage, and should keep her a safe distance from the public for the foreseeable future. Additional celebrities may be added to the disaster area after further assessments are completed, according to a statement from the White House.
"First she runs over a photographer, then the knife episode, then the whole lesbian thing, and violating probation, and delicately painting swear words on her fingernails - it's really too much for the average person to handle," said Richard Hall, Director of the Center For The Study Of Celebrity In Society.
"Throw in tape after tape of Mel Gibson becoming unhinged, and you have to think that compared to these celebrities, we really got it pretty good," added Hall. "We just need a little help coping, is all."
While the aid is welcome relief to the battered California region, the news does not come without controversy. According to video footage obtained by CAP News, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief about Lohan well before she crashed her car into a parked van in October, 2005, raising questions of whether the previous administration did enough to protect citizens from Lohan.
"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in Hollywood and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this girl's actions," former FEMA Director Michael Brown warns on the tape. "Otherwise we're headed for a disaster of Tara Reid proportions."
White House officials have refused to comment on the video, but said additional federal money is being made available for anyone still recovering from The Great Alec Baldwin Tirade Of 2007.
Rumors that Lohan plans to revamp and relaunch her Prison Pinup Tour once she is done with rehab remain unfounded at this time, but those close to the star say they think it's a neat idea and great way to give back to the incarcerated community.