What the President Saw: Shocked Obama Flies
Over Atlantic City Disaster Zone To Witness Massive Trail of Devastation
Left by Sandy
Mark Duell, Toby Harnden, and Lydia Warren
homes surrounded in water, bridges torn in half this is the view
President Obama had today when he took a helicopter tour of a stretch
of the New Jersey coast devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
revised his election campaigning plans and travelled to Atlantic
City to see for himself the widespread damage caused by the storm.
He was joined
on the presidential helicopter, Marine One, for the one-hour tour
by Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has put partisan
politics aside in the wake of the disaster.
'I want to
let you know that your governor is working overtime,' Obama told
victims at an emergency shelter after the tour.
country has been watching what's been happening. Everybody knows
how hard Jersey has been hit.'
'It's really important to have the president of the United States
meeting came as people in the heavily populated US East Coast corridor
battered by Sandy took the first cautious steps to reclaim their
upended daily routines, even as rescuers combed neighbourhoods strewn
with debris and scarred by floods and fire.
night, the winds and flooding inflicted by the fast-weakening Sandy
had subsided, leaving at least 55 people dead along the Atlantic
Coast and splintering beachfront homes and boardwalks from the mid-Atlantic
states to southern New England.
The storm later
moved across Pennsylvania on a predicted path toward western New
York State and Canada.
At the height
of the disaster, more than 8.2 million customers lost electricity
some as far away as Michigan. Nearly a quarter of those without
power were in New York, where lower Manhattan's usually bright lights
remained dark for a second night.
is a vocal supporter of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, has changed his
partisan tune after the storm, regularly singing Obamas praises
in relation to the federal aid given toward disaster relief support.
has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA (the
Federal Emergency Management Agency), Christie told the Today
Show on Tuesday.
told news anchor Soledad OBrien that Obama has been
incredibly supportive and helpful to our state, and not once did
he bring up the election.
was one of the hardest-hit in Monday nights storm, and power
outages in the states two biggest cities Newark and Jersey
City have prevented progress, as traffic lights remain out of
The visit came
after the Presidents second visit to FEMA headquarters for
an update on federal progress.
a motorcade to FEMA's offices in D.C. to meet with agency chiefs
before the flight to Atlantic City to meet with Sandy's victims
and relief workers.
the election, the President has kept up a steady public presence
overseeing the storm response, while cancelling a series of public
It was Obama's
second visit in four days with the agency. On Sunday, he met FEMA
officials, then told reporters the government will respond
big and respond fast after the massive storm made landfall.
also paid a visit to the headquarters of the Red Cross on Tuesday,
saying he wanted no bureaucracy, no red tape to interfere
with recovery, and suggested the military might be able to help
in view of the enormity of the damage.
is a tough time for millions of people ... But America is tougher,
The speed of
their response has prompted criticism from Michael heckuva
job Brown, the former FEMA director who was roundly criticized
for the agencys response to the devastation from Hurricane
(President Obamas) gonna be asked is, why did he jump on (Sandy)
so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when (after) Benghazi,
he went to Las Vegas? Why was this so quick? Brown told a
Denver news station.
down his partisan tone on Tuesday at an Ohio event that emphasised
victims' relief, Mr Romney planned three full-blown campaign rallies
today in Florida, the largest competitive state.
spared Florida, so Mr Romney calculates he can campaign there without
appearing callous. But President Obamas revised schedule is
also a political gamble.
use the campaign's final Wednesday to woo voters in the tossup states
that will decide the election, Obama decided to go before cameras
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