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Sunday, September 4, 2011

President Obama Tours Hurricane Irene Stricken New Jersey

Vows to give areas "what they need" to rebuild.

Thanks to a few pool reports we get a sense of  President Obama's touring events in Paterson, NJ.  The president is spending the Labor Day weekend at Camp David, but has scheduled visits in New Jersey's hardest hit areas after last weekend's devastating Hurricane Irene struck the area.

President Obama tours damage caused by flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in Wayne, New Jersey.
 (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / September 4, 2011)
Our pool report comes from David Cook of CSPS.

POTUS at Main Street Bridge in Paterson New Jersey at approximately 1:35 p.m. POTUS arrived at the storm damaged Main Street Bridge in Paterson New Jersey over a very fast blowing Passaic River.  En route, we saw signs that said “Mr Obama, yes we can” and “We survived Hurricane Irene.” Representative Pascarel told reporters at the bridge “we are glad that he [President Obama] is here.” After walking along the bridge, Mr. Obama came to one end and delivered remarks.

Pooler's Key points:  The visit “gives you a sense of the devastation that has taken place”, said Obama.  He thanked Gov. Christie, the Congressional delegation, and local leaders saying their effective performance “has helped avert even greater tragedy.”  He said “the main message” is that “the entire country is behind you”  and will “make sure we provide all the resources that are necessary to rebuild.”  As to those say it may taken a while to find funds “we are going to meet our obligations".  In times of disaster “then we come together as one country.” Finally, Mr. Obama said “ I know it could have been worse but we should notr underestimate the heartache.”

Official remarks by President Obama:"The main message that I have for all the residents not only of New Jersey but all those communities that have been affected by flooding, by the destruction that occurred as a consequence of Hurricane Irene is that the entire country is behind you and we are going to make sure that we provide all the resources that are necessary in order to help these communities rebuild."

Another pool report informs us that the president visited a “Road to Recovery” center at a local Lowe’s in Paterson, NJ where they are providing supplies, medical screening, and additional support to those impactedby Irene. "Several hundred people were lined up along side tables with the supplies and POTUS went down the line shaking hands and talking. 

End of selected pool reports.

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Offficials from the Obama administration along for the visit included FEMA Director Craig Fugate, FEMA FCO Bill Vogel, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.  From the state of New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Bob Menendez, Representative Bill Pascrell, Representative Steven Rothman, Paterson Mayor Jeffrey JonesWayne, Mayor Christopher Vergano, along with Red Cross CEO & President Gail McGovern.

President Obama declared the state of New Jersey a disaster ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Irene beginning on August 27, 2011, and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Somerset.

With Hurricane Irene behind us, FEMA is now keeping a close eye on tropical storm watches and warnings in effect along the Gulf Coast.  FEMA, through its regional offices in Denton, Texas, and Atlanta, is continuing to closely monitor Tropical Storm Lee, and is urging residents in Gulf Coast states to prepare for heavy rains and possible flooding in the coming days. 

Information on the forecast track, can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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