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White House / white house

Obama to Inspect Storm Damage in New Jersey

This handout photo provided by the White Houae shows President Barack Obama receiving an update on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 29 2012. Participating via teleconference, clockwise from top left, are: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate; Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. In Situation Room,, from left are: Clark Stevens, assistant Press Secretary; Emmett Beliveau, director of the Office of the Chief of Staff; John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Richard Reed, deputy assistant to the President for Homeland Security; Chuck Donnell, senior director for Resilience; Asha Tribble, senior director for Response; Chief of Staff Jack Lew; Alyssa Mastromonaco, deputy chief of staff for Operations; Press Secretary Jay Carney; and David Agnew, director for Intergovernmental Affairs.(AP Photo/Pete Souza, White House)

President Obama, who canceled a third day of campaign activities to remain in Washington to monitor the government’s response to the wreckage of Sandy, will visit New Jersey, site of some of the worst damage, on Wednesday.

The president left the White House on Tuesday only for a brief visit to the headquarters of the American Red Cross. There, he spoke for about 10 minutes, warning the country that “this storm is not yet over” even if the worst has passed.

“Obviously,” he said, “this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation.” He said that his main message to those trying to recover is that “America is with you.” He also directed part of his message to government officials, stating bluntly, “No bureaucracy; no red tape.” He said officials should do whatever it takes to get relief out fast.

 

He also appealed for contributions to the Red Cross.

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who said earlier in the day he had been on the phone with Obama three times in the previous 24 hours, will accompany Obama on his visit.

Christie, who had nothing but praise for Obama, seemed to chide the Romney campaign for hints that the Republican candidate may go to New Jersey to survey storm damage as if he were already president. Such visits are always sensitive, even for a president, because the timing has to be managed so the heavy security needed does not distract local officials from ongoing recovery efforts. On Fox News, Christie said he is not “the least bit concerned or interested” in the idea. He added, “I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power, I’ve got devastation on the shore, I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don’t know me.”

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