Full Text Obama Presidency May 28, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech in Asbury Park, NJ After Touring the Jersey Shore with Gov Chris Christie



President Barack Obama congratulates New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while playing the “TouchDown Fever” arcade game along the Point Pleasant boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., May 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Remarks by the President in Asbury Park, NJ

Source: WH, 5-28-13 

Asbury Park Convention Hall
Asbury Park, New Jersey

1:26 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, New Jersey!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Jersey.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back!  (Applause.)

Let me, first of all, say thank you to Governor Christie for that introduction and the great work he’s done here.  (Applause.) Your Mayor, Ed Johnson, is here as well and has been working tirelessly on your behalf.  (Applause.)  We’ve got three great representatives in Congress from New Jersey — Rush Holt, Frank Pallone, Donald Payne, Jr.  (Applause.)

Now, last week, my advisors asked me — they said, Mr. President, do you want to spend next Tuesday in Washington, or would you rather spend it at the Jersey Shore?  (Applause.)  And I’ve got to say I’ve got to make some tough decisions as President, but this wasn’t one of them.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I appreciate that.  (Applause.)

Governor Christie and I just spent some time on the Point Pleasant boardwalk.  I got a chance to see the world’s tallest sandcastle being built.  We played some Touchdown Fever — I got to say, Christie got it in the tire the first try — (laughter)  — although I did pay for his throws.  (Laughter.)  I played a little Frog Bog, and Governor Christie’s kids taught me the right technique for hitting the hammer to get those frogs in the buckets the way I was supposed to.  (Laughter.)  And, of course, I met with folks who are still rebuilding after Sandy.

Now, we all understand there’s still a lot of work to be done.  There are homes to rebuild.  There are businesses to reopen.  There are landmarks and beaches and boardwalks that aren’t all the way back yet.  But thanks to the hard work of an awful lot of people, we’ve got wonderful shops and restaurants and arcades that are opening their doors.  And I saw what thousands of Americans saw over Memorial Day Weekend:  You are stronger than the storm.  (Applause.)  After all you’ve dealt with, after all you’ve been through, the Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business, and they want all Americans to know that they’re ready to welcome you here.  (Applause.)

And I’ve got to say, if they ever let me have any fun, I’d have some fun here.  (Laughter and applause.)  I was telling my staff on the ride over, I could see being a little younger — (laughter) — and having some fun on the Jersey Shore.  (Applause.)  I can’t do that anymore.  (Laughter.)  Maybe after I leave office.  (Laughter and applause.)

I think a friend of mine from here once put it pretty well:  “Down the shore, everything’s all right.”  (Applause.)  He’s the only guy a President still has to call “The Boss.”  (Laughter.)  Other than the First Lady.  (Laughter.)

But for generations, that’s what this place has been about. Life isn’t always easy.  We’re a people who have to work hard and do what it takes to provide for our families — but when you come here, everything’s all right.  And whether you spend a lifetime here, or a weekend, or a summer, the Shore holds a special place in your heart and a special place in America’s mythology, America’s memory.

When I was here seven months ago, Hurricane Sandy had just hammered communities all across the East Coast, and lives were lost, and homes and businesses were destroyed, and folks were hurting.  And I remember something Chris said back then.  He said, “We cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all New Jerseyans have.”


THE PRESIDENT:  And it didn’t.  You didn’t let it.  You kept going.  Because these towns have a special character — not just in the summer but all year round.  From the moment the hurricane hit, first responders worked around the clock to save lives and property.  And neighbors opened their homes and their hearts to one another.  And you came together as citizens to rebuild.

And we’re not done yet, and I want to make sure everybody understands that, because for somebody who hasn’t seen their home rebuilt yet or is still trying to get their business up and running again, after all those losses, we don’t want them to think that somehow we’ve checked a box and we’ve moved on.  That’s part of the reason I came back, to let people know we’re going to keep on going until we finish.  (Applause.)

But if anybody wondered whether the Shore could ever be all right again, you got your answer this weekend.  (Applause.)  From Sea Bright to Bay Head, from Belmar to Seaside Heights, folks were hanging out on balconies and beaches.  Shows were sold out at the Stone Pony.  (Applause.)  Kids were eating ice cream and going on rides, going and eating some more ice cream.  (Laughter.)  Guys were trying to win those big stuffed animals to impress a special girl.  So like I said, the Jersey Shore is back in business.

The work is not over, though.  Seven months ago, I promised you that your country would have your back.  I told you we would not quit until the job was done, and I meant it.  I meant it.  (Applause.)

Craig Fugate, the head of FEMA, he couldn’t be here today, but I want to thank him and his team for their ongoing work.  FEMA was here before Sandy made landfall; they’re still here today.  They’re working with the Governor’s team and with the task force I set up to support families and communities who still need help.  Since the storm hit, we’ve provided billions of dollars to families and state and local governments across the region, and more is on the way.

And even as my team is helping communities recover from the last hurricane season, they’re already starting to prepare for the next hurricane season, which starts this Saturday — because if there’s one thing that we learned last year, it’s that when a storm hits, we’ve got to be ready.  Education, preparation — that’s what makes a difference.  That’s what saves lives.  And anyone who wants to make sure they’re ready — for a hurricane or any other disaster — I want them to visit something — a website called Ready.gov.  Make a plan.  It’s never too early.

We’ve also got to remember that rebuilding efforts like these aren’t measured in weeks or months, but they’re measured in years.  That’s why just this past Thursday, we announced billions of new relief aid for New York and New Jersey transit agencies.  And that’s why the Army Corps of Engineers is working to restore beaches and strengthen the Shore’s natural defenses.  That’s why last year I joined Governor Christie and your representatives, fighting to get a relief package through Congress.  We’re going to keep doing what it takes to rebuild all the way and make it better than it was before, make it stronger than it was before, make it more resilient than it was before.  (Applause.)

So, Jersey, you’ve still got a long road ahead, but when you look out on this beach — this beautiful beach here, even in the rain, it looks good.  You look out over the horizon, you can count on the fact that you won’t be alone.  Your fellow citizens will be there for you — just like we’ll be there for folks in Breezy Point and Staten Island — (applause) — and obviously, we’re going to be there for the folks in Monroe [sic], Oklahoma, after the devastation of last week.  (Applause.)

Part of the reason I wanted to come back here was not just to send a message to New Jersey, but send a message to folks in Oklahoma:  When we make a commitment that we’ve got your back, we mean it — (applause) — and we’re not going to finish until the work is done.  Because that’s who we are.  We help each other as Americans through the bad times, and we sure make the most of the good times.  (Applause.)

So let’s have some good times on the New Jersey Shore this summer.  (Applause.)  And next summer and the summer after that, and all year long, America, bring your family and friends.  Spend a little money on the Jersey Shore.  (Applause.)  You’ll find some of the friendliest folks on Earth, some of the best beaches on Earth.  And you’ll see that even after a tough couple of months, this place is as special as ever, and down the Shore, everything is still all right.  (Applause.)

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  God bless America.  (Applause.)

1:35 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 28, 2013: President Barack Obama & NJ Gov Chris Christie Tour Recovery Efforts at Jersey Shore





Obama, Christie Tour Recovery Efforts at Jersey Shore

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-28-13

Office of NJ Gov. Chris Christie/Twitter

Seven months after superstorm Sandy hammered the New Jersey coast, President Obama returned to the Jersey Shore to highlight the state’s recovery and rebuilding efforts, declaring that the “Jersey Shore is back.”

“We’re still rebuilding after Sandy.  Now we all understand that there is still a lot of work to be done,” the president said Tuesday before a crowd of 3,800 at the Asbury Park Convention Hall in Asbury Park, N.J….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 15, 2013: House Sends $50 Billion Sandy Aid Package to Senate





House Sends $50B Sandy Aid Package to Senate

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-16-13

Approves $50.7 Billion In Hurricane Sandy Aid

Seventy-nine days after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the northeast corridor of the country, the House of Representatives voted Tuesday evening to approve about $50 billion of additional relief for the region impacted by last fall’s super storm.

The vote, 241-180, passed mostly behind Democratic support, winning 49 votes from Republicans and 192 votes from Democrats. Just one Democrat opposed the legislation, while 179 Republicans voted against it….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 4, 2013: House, Senate Approve $9.7 Billion for Sandy Flood Victims





House, Senate Approve $9.7 Billion for Sandy Flood Victims

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-4-13

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than two months after superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast, Congress on Friday approved $9.7 billion for FEMA flood insurance programs to be distributed to businesses and residents inundated by the storm.

The House of Representatives vote passed 354 to 67, with all opposition coming from Republicans.  The Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent. The bill grants the National Flood Insurance Program additional borrowing authority to process 115,000 pending insurance claims.

The Senate passed a $60.4 billion bill which would provide aid for victims of Sandy last year. That bill, which matched the White House’s emergency supplemental request, expired after the House refused to consider the legislation before the 112th session of Congress ended this week….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 2, 2013: Gov. Chris Christie Finds Speaker John Boehner’s Actions ‘Disgusting’ for Adjourning the House before Vote on Sandy Relief





Sandy Relief: Christie Finds Boehner’s Actions ‘Disgusting’

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-2-13

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that it was “disgusting” that the House adjourned without voting on a $60 billion relief package for the victims of superstorm Sandy and put the blame squarely on a fellow Republican — House Speaker John Boehner.

Christie, who is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate four years from now, said there was “only one group to blame, the Republican Party and Speaker Boehner.”

The blunt talking New Jersey governor joined a chorus of Republicans from New York and New Jersey fuming over Boehner’s decision to pull the bill at the last minute….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 2, 2013: Governors Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo & Lawmakers from New York & New Jersey Furious over Failure to Allocate ‘Sandy’ Funds





Lawmakers Furious over Failure to Allocate ‘Sandy’ Funds

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-2-13

ABC News

Republican lawmakers from New York and New Jersey whose storm-ravaged residents are desperate for federal aid are fuming at their party’s leaders for refusing to hold a vote on a $60 billion disaster relief package, despite promises that help was on the way….

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, called it a “dereliction of duty” in a joint statement with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

“This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented,” the governors said….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines November 22, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Optimism Is Important in Face of Fiscal Challenges





GOP Address: Rep. McMorris Rodgers Optimism Is Important in Face of Fiscal Challenges

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-22-12

McMorris [dot] House [dot] gov

In this week’s Republican address Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) echoes the president’s message reminding us of the freedoms  afforded to Americans.

Giving thanks to service members serving away from their families and remaining thoughtful of the many families still dealing with the effects of superstorm Sandy, Rep. McMorris Rodgers says, “The same spirit of service and optimism that brings us together today should inspire us all year round.”

“That why, here in Washington, D.C., Republicans have reached out to President Obama in the hope of working together to help our economy grow and solve the debt that threatens our children’s future,” she says in the address….READ MORE

Political Headlines November 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Visits Hurricane Sandy Ravaged New York





Obama Visits Sandy Ravaged New York

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-15-12
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama on Thursday named Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to coordinate the federal government’s long-term response to rebuilding the New York/New Jersey region devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

“On the federal level, I wanted to assign one particular person who will be our point-person. We thought it would be good to have a New Yorker be the point person,” Obama said in remarks on Staten Island.

Donovan, who is a former New York City housing commissioner, “knows a little bit about New York and building,” Obama said….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency November 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Remarks After Surveying Damage from Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island, New York



Remarks by the President After Surveying Damage from Hurricane Sandy

Source: WH, 11-15-12 

Cedar Grove Avenue
Staten Island, New York

2:01 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much, everybody.  I’m going to be relatively brief.  I came up here right after the storm, was on the Jersey side, and I promised to everybody that I was speaking on behalf of the country when I said we are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete, and I meant it.  So I’m going to come back today, but I’m also going to be coming back in the future to make sure that we have followed through on that commitment.

I want to thank the outstanding leadership that’s been provided by state and local officials.  Obviously, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have done an outstanding job.  To borough president Molinaro, thank you so much for your leadership at a time when the folks here on this island were obviously going through extraordinarily difficult times, the people of Long Island who are going through really tough times.

Across the board, what we’ve seen is cooperation and a spirit of service.  And for the first responders who are here, the police officers, the firefighters, the EMS folks, the sanitation workers who sometimes don’t get credit but have done heroic work, we are so grateful to you because you exemplify what America is all about.  I’m grateful to the Red Cross who has been so responsive not just here, but in disasters around the country.  And I want to thank all the volunteers.  As we were shaking hands over there, we had folks from every part of the country.  We had some Canadians who had come down to help out.

And during difficult times like this, we’re reminded that we’re bound together and we have to look out for each other.  And a lot of the things that seem important, the petty differences melt away, and we focus on what binds us together and that we as Americans are going to stand with each other in their hour of need.

Now, more specifically, we are now still in the process of recovery.  As you can see, as you travel around parts of Staten Island, as we flew over parts of — other parts of the city and the region that had been impacted, there is still a lot of cleanup to do.  People still need emergency help.  They still need heat.  They still need power.  They still need food.  They still need shelter.  Kids are still trying to figure out where they’re going to school.  So there’s a lot of short-term, immediate stuff that has to be dealt with.  And we are going to make sure that we stay here as long as people need that immediate help.  That’s FEMA’s primary task.  And we’ll be coordinating closely with state and local governments to make sure folks are getting the short-term help.

But what we’ve also already heard is that there’s going to be some long-term rebuilding that’s required.  You look at this block and you know that this is a community that is deeply rooted.  Most of the folks that I met here have been here 20, 30, 50 years.  They don’t want to see their community uprooted, but there’s got to be a plan for rebuilding, and that plan is going to have to be coordinated, and they’re going to need resources.

So what I’ve committed to doing is to work with the outstanding congressional delegation led by your Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, also working with Governor Christie and the Jersey delegation to try to come up with a game plan for how we’re going to be able to resource the rebuilding process.

And I’m confident, as Governor Cuomo said, that we’re going to be able to do it.  But it’s going to require everybody focused on getting the job done.  We’re going to have to put some of the turf battles aside.  We’re going to have to make sure that everybody is focused on doing the job as opposed to worrying about who is getting the credit or who is getting the contracts or all that stuff that sometimes goes into the rebuilding process.

On the federal level, because this is going to be such a big job, I wanted to assign one particular person who would be in charge from our perspective, who would be our point person — because FEMA basically runs the recovery process, it doesn’t focus on the rebuilding.  For that, we’ve got to have all government agencies involved.  Janet Napolitano has done a great job with respect to DHS, but we thought it would be good to have a New Yorker who is going to be the point person.  And so our outstanding HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, who used to be the head of the New York Housing Authority — so he knows a little bit about New York and building — is going to be our point person.  And he’s going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan.  And then, I’ll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources needed to rebuild.  And I have every confidence that Shaun is going to be doing a great job, and so people should feel some confidence about that.

Let me just close by saying this:  I had the opportunity to give some hugs and communicate thoughts and prayers to the Moore family.  They lost two young sons during the course of this tragedy.  And obviously, I expressed to them — as a father, as a parent — my heartbreak over what they went through.  And they’re still obviously a little shell-shocked.

But they came here in part because they wanted to say thank you to all the people who have been supportive of them.  They in particular mentioned Lieutenant Kevin Gallagher of the NYPD, who, when they knew that their sons were missing, Lieutenant Gallagher made a point of staying with them and doing everything he could so that ultimately they knew what had happened with their boys and were able to recover their bodies, and has been with them as a source of support ever since.

That’s not in the job description of Lieutenant Gallagher.  He did that because that’s what so many of our first responders do.  They go above and beyond the call of duty to respond to people in need.  And so I want to give a shout-out to Lieutenant Gallagher, but I also want to point out, the Moores, even in their grief, asked me to mention Lieutenant Gallagher, and that says something about them as well.

And that spirit and sense of togetherness and looking out for one another, that’s what’s going to carry us through this tragedy.  It’s not going to be easy.  There’s still going to be, believe it or not, some complaints over the next several months.  Not everybody is going to be satisfied.  I have to tell you the insurance companies and some of the other private sector folks who are involved in this, we need you to show some heart and some spirit in helping people rebuild as well.

But when I hear the story of the Moores and I hear about Lieutenant Gallagher, that’s what makes me confident that we’re going to be able to rebuild.

I’m very proud of you, New York.  You guys are tough.  You bounce back, just as America always bounces back.  The same is going to be true this time out.  All right, thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

2:08 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidemcy, November 3, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at FEMA Headquarters Hurricane Sandy Storm Relief Update



President Obama Gets Update on Storm Relief at FEMA

Source: WH, 11-4-12

President Obama at FEMA Briefing Nov 3, 2012

President Barack Obama receives a briefing about the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy, at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3, 2012. Seated, from left, are: FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. November 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Following a briefing with FEMA leaders and Cabinet officers on Saturday in Washington DC, President Obama stressed the importance of making sure all those who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy know that help is available for them, and asked all Americans to spread the word that anyone looking for assistance — from housing to childcare, medicine and a whole range of support — should call 800-621-FEMA.

The President reiterated that making sure making sure those who suffered loss get the resources they need to rebuild and recover is his number one priority, and outlined the steps being taken to restore normalcy in the region.

Remarks by the President at FEMA Headquarters

Source: WH, 11-3-12

Washington, DC

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, listen, I just completed not only a meeting with our team here at FEMA and all of our Cabinet officers who are involved in the recovery process along the East Coast, but we also had a conference call with the governors of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, as well as many of the municipalities who have been directly affected by this crisis and this tragedy.

We still have a long way to go to make sure that the people of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and some of the surrounding areas get their basic needs taken care of and that we start moving back to normalcy.

A couple of things that we’ve emphasized:  Number one, that it is critical for us to get power back on as quickly as possible.  And just to give people an example of the kind of work we’re doing — the military, DOD, thanks to the work of Leon and others, have been able to get military transport facilities to move cherry-pickers and personnel from as far away as California to get that equipment into the area so we can start getting some of the power back on as quickly as possible.  It is a painstaking process, but we’re making progress.

Number two, we’re getting assets in to pump as much water out as possible.  Lower Manhattan obviously is a particularly acute example, but there are problems with flooding that are affecting substations throughout the region.  That’s going to continue to be a top priority.

Number three, making sure that people’s basic needs are taken care of.  As we start seeing the weather get a little bit colder, people can’t be without power for long periods of time, without heat for long periods of time.  And so what we’re doing is starting to shift to identify where we can have temporary housing outside of shelters so people can get some sense of normalcy.  They can have a hot meal; they can have the capacity to take care of their families as their homes are being dealt with.

Number four, debris removal still important.  Number five, making sure that the National Guard and other federal assets are in place to help with getting the transportation systems back up and running — that’s going to be critical.

What I told the governors and the mayors is what I’ve been saying to my team since the start of this event, and that is we don’t have any patience for bureaucracy, we don’t have any patience for red tape, and we want to make sure that we are figuring out a way to get to yes, as opposed to no, when it comes to these problems.

The other thing I emphasized, though, is that it is much easier for us to respond if we know what these problems are out in these areas, so if everybody can help publicize the number 800-621-FEMA — 800-621-FEMA — then individuals can register with FEMA and immediately get the assistance that they need.

And so the more that folks in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut understand that there are a lot of resources available for them, not just with respect to housing, but also with respect to childcare, medicine, a whole range of support, then we want to make sure that they contact us as soon as possible if they’re in distress because help is available.

Let me just close by saying this:  Obviously we’ve now seen that after the initial search and rescue, the recovery process is difficult and it’s painful.  But the governors at the local level — Governors Christie, Cuomo, and Malloy — they are working around the clock, their teams are working around the clock.  We are incredibly grateful to the heroism and hard work of our first responders, many of whom themselves have had their homes flooded out.  Our hearts continue to go out to those families who have been affected and who have actually lost loved ones — that’s obviously heartbreaking.

But I’m confident that we can continue to make progress as long as state, local and federal officials stay focused.  And I can assure you everybody on this team, everybody sitting around the table has made this a number-one priority and this continues to be my number-one priority.

There’s nothing more important than us getting this right.  And we’re going to spend as much time, effort and energy as necessary to make sure that all the people in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut know that the entire country is behind them in this difficult recovery effort.  We are going to put not just 100 percent, but 120 percent behind making sure that they get the resources they need to rebuild and recover.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Campaign Headlines November 1, 2012: Mayor Mike Bloomberg Endorses President Barack Obama




Mayor Mike Bloomberg Endorses Obama

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-1-12

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

Citing climate change as the deciding factor, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday endorsed President Obama for a second term, saying Hurricane Sandy “brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.”

In the wake of the devastation, Bloomberg, an independent, said the president is the best leader to tackle climate change, which he believes contributed to the storm…..READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz November 1, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Las Vegas, Nevada — Invokes Superstorm Sandy on the Campaign Trail




Obama Invokes Superstorm Sandy on the Campaign Trail

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-1-12


After canceling campaign events for three days to oversee the response to the devastating storm, President Obama, back on the trail, told supporters in two key battleground states Thursday that Superstorm Sandy serves as a reminder that “when disaster strikes, we see America at its best.”

“All the petty differences that consume us in normal times somehow melt away,” the president told 4,500 Nevadans at a rally in Las Vegas. “There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, just fellow Americans, leaders of different parties working to fix what’s broken, neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy, communities rallying to rebuild, a spirit that says, In the end we’re all in this together, that we rise or fall as one nation.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President in Las Vegas, NV

Source: WH, 11-1-12

Cheyenne Sports Complex
Las Vegas, Nevada

2:05 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Nevada!  (Applause.)  It is great to be back in Vegas!  (Applause.)  It’s great to be here with your next senator, Shelley Berkley — (applause) — who’s going to join my great friend, Majority Leader Harry Reid, in fighting for the people of Nevada.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Where’s Michelle?

THE PRESIDENT:  Michelle couldn’t come, but she says hey.  (Applause.)  She loves you guys.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love her!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, for the past few days, all of us have been focused on –

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  All right.  Thank you so much.

Listen, for the past few days, all of us have been focused on one of the worst storms in our lifetime.  We are awed by the destructive power of nature.  We’re mourning those who’ve been lost.  And we’re going to pledge to those whose lives have been turned upside down that we will not quit until we have given them all the help they need to recover.  (Applause.)

This afternoon, as I was flying out to Vegas, we had conference calls with mayors all across New Jersey; had conference calls with mayors and local elected officials all across Connecticut.  I spoke to the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York, and they’re struggling.  And the cleanup, the aftermath of this storm is going to be hard and it’s going to take some time.

But the thing that I have repeated to them every time I talk to them is America will not forget them.  We are going to make sure they get everything they need.  We’re going to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy.  (Applause.)  We’ve got military transport getting equipment in to get the power back on.  We’ve got food and water and medical supplies that we’re shipping in.  And we’re not going to stop — because what we understand is, is that this could happen to any of us.

AUDIENCE:  That’s right!

THE PRESIDENT:  And that’s why, even in the midst of tragedy, the situation on the East Coast has also inspired, because it reminds us that when disaster strikes we see America at its best.  All the petty differences that consume us in normal times somehow melt away.  There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, just fellow Americans –- (applause) — leaders of different parties working to fix what’s broken; neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy; communities rallying to rebuild; a spirit that says in the end, we’re all in this together –- that we rise or fall as one nation.  (Applause.)

That’s what we have seen on display over these last few days.  That is the spirit that we need going forward.  That spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries.  It’s carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last four years.

In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Today, our businesses have created over 5 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  The American auto industry is back on top.  (Applause.)  American manufacturing is growing faster than any time in the last 15 years.  (Applause.)  We’re less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last 20 years.  (Applause.)  Home values are on the rise.  (Applause.)  Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over.  (Applause.)  The war in Afghanistan is coming to an end.  Al Qaeda has been decimated.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thanks to you!

THE PRESIDENT:  So we’ve made real progress these past four years.  But, Nevada, we know our work is not yet done.  We know our work is not yet done in making sure that New Jersey and New York and Connecticut and West Virginia, that they all recover from the hardship they’ve experienced.  (Applause.)

Our work is not done as long as there’s a single American who wants a job and can’t yet find one.  As long as there are families who are working harder and harder, but falling further behind, our work is not yet done.  As long as there is a child languishing in poverty, barred from opportunity anywhere in this country, anywhere in Nevada, our work is not yet done.  (Applause.)

Our fight goes on, because we know this nation can’t succeed without a growing, thriving middle class, and strong, sturdy ladders into the middle class.  Our fight goes on because America has always been at its best when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.  That’s what we believe.  That’s why you elected me in 2008, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  We knew from the beginning that our work would take more than one year or even one term.  Because, let’s face it, the middle class was getting hammered long before the financial crisis hit — because the economy has changed. Technology made us more productive, but it also made a lot of good jobs obsolete.  Global trade brought us cheaper products, but it also allowed companies to move and hire people in low-wage countries.

American workers saw their paychecks squeezed, even as corporate profits were rising and CEO salaries exploded.  The guaranteed security of pensions and health care started slowly to disappear.

These fundamental changes in the economy, the rise of technology and global competition, these changes are real.  We can’t wish away these challenges.  But here’s what I know, Nevada.  We can meet these challenges.  (Applause.)  This is America.  We’ve got the world’s best workers and the world’s best entrepreneurs.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the world’s best scientists and the world’s best researchers.  We’ve got the best colleges and the best universities.  And we’ve got the most innovative spirit.  We’ve got everything we need to thrive in this new 21st century economy.  And there’s not a country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States.   (Applause.)

But we’ve got a choice to make if we’re going to realize that promise, if we’re going to make sure that that success is there for the next generation.

In five days, we will choose our next President.  (Applause.)  And, Nevada, it’s more than just a choice between two candidates.  It’s more than just a choice between two parties.  You’re going to be making a choice between two fundamentally different visions of America.

On the one hand, we’ve got folks who are arguing to return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy.


THE PRESIDENT:  What we’re talking about is a future that’s built on a strong and growing middle class.  (Applause.)

Nevada, we know the choice that needs to be made, and we’re here today because we believe that if this country invests in the skills and ideas of its people, then good jobs and businesses will follow.

We believe that America’s free market has been the engine of America’s progress, driven by risk-takers and innovators and dreamers.  Folks in Nevada know about dreaming.  (Applause.)  But we also understand that in this country, people succeed when they’ve got a shot at a good education, when they have a chance to learn new skills — and by the way, businesses benefit because they’re hiring those workers, and some of those workers end up starting businesses of their own.

We believe that when we support research into medical breakthroughs, research into new technology, entire new industries will start here and stay here and hire here.

We don’t believe government should poke its nose in everything we do, but we do believe this country is stronger when there are rules to protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution — (applause) — when there are rules to protect consumers from unscrupulous credit card companies and mortgage lenders.  (Applause.)  We believe we grow faster when our tax code rewards hard work and companies that create jobs here in America.  (Applause.)  And we believe that quality health care for everybody and a dignified retirement for everybody aren’t just achievable goals, they are a measure of our values as a nation.  That’s what we believe.

For eight years, we had a President who shared these beliefs.  His name was Bill Clinton.  (Applause.)  And when he was elected, he asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more so we could reduce the deficit and still make investments in things like education and training, and science and research.  And here’s an interesting thing — plenty of folks who were running for Congress at the time said it would hurt the economy, that raising taxes on the wealthy would kill jobs.  And if that argument sounds familiar, one of those candidates who was running back then happens to be the guy who is running for President right now.


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo — vote.  (Applause.)  Vote.

Turns out their math was just as bad back then as it is today — (laughter) — because by the end of Bill Clinton’s second term, America had created 23 million new jobs.  Incomes were up.  Poverty was down.  Our deficit became the biggest surplus in history.

So, Nevada, we know our ideas work.  We also know the ideas that don’t work.  Because in the eight years after Bill Clinton left office, his policies were reversed.  The wealthiest Americans got tax cuts they didn’t need and we couldn’t afford. Companies enjoyed tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.  Insurance companies and oil companies and Wall Street were given free license to do whatever they pleased.  Folks at the top got to play a different set of rules than the rest of us.  And the result of this top-down economics was falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis that we’re still cleaning up after.

So, in the closing weeks of this campaign, Governor Romney has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up the very same policies that failed our country so badly, the very same policies we’ve been cleaning up after over these four years, and with a straight face, he’s offering them up as change.  (Laughter.)  He’s saying he’s the candidate of change.

Now, let me tell you, Nevada, we know what change looks like.  (Applause.)  And what the Governor is offering sure ain’t change.  Giving more power back to the biggest banks isn’t change.  Leaving millions without health insurance isn’t change.  Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn’t change.  Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies isn’t change.


THE PRESIDENT:  Turning Medicare into a voucher, that is change, but we don’t want that change.


THE PRESIDENT:  Ruling out compromise by pledging to rubber-stamp the tea party’s agenda as President — that’s definitely not change.


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo –


THE PRESIDENT:  In fact, that’s exactly the attitude in Washington that needs to go.

So after four years as President, you know me by now.  (Applause.)  You may not agree with every decision I’ve made, you may be frustrated at the pace of change, but you know what I believe.  You know where I stand.  You know I’m willing to make tough decisions, even when they’re not politically convenient.  And you know that I will fight for you and your families every single day, as hard as I know how.  (Applause.)

So my opponent can talk about change, but I know what real change looks like because I’ve fought for it.  (Applause.)  I’ve got the scars to proof it.  You have, too.  And after all that we’ve been through together, Nevada, we sure as heck can’t give up now.


THE PRESIDENT:  Change is a country where Americans of every age have the skills and education that good jobs require.  And government can’t do this alone — parents have to parent; teachers have to teach.  But don’t tell me that hiring more teachers won’t help this economy grow, or help young people compete.  We know it will.  (Applause.)

Don’t tell me that students who can’t afford college should just borrow money from their parents.  That wasn’t an option for me.  I’ll bet it wasn’t an option for a whole lot of you.  We shouldn’t be ending college tax credits just to pay for a millionaire’s tax cut — we should be making college more affordable for everybody who’s willing to work for it.  (Applause.)

We should recruit 100,000 math and science teachers so that high-tech, high-wage jobs aren’t created in China; they’re created right here in Nevada.  (Applause.)  We should work with our community colleges to train another 2 million Americans with the skills that businesses are looking for right now.  That’s my plan for the future.  That’s what change is.  That’s the America we’re fighting for in this election.

Change comes when we live up to our legacy of innovation, when we make America home to the next generation of outstanding manufacturing, scientific discovery, technological breakthroughs.  I am proud that I bet on American workers, and American ingenuity, and the American auto industry.  (Applause.)   Today we’re not just building cars again; we’re building better cars — cars that by the middle of the next decade will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)

Today, there are thousands of workers building long-lasting batteries and wind turbines, installing solar panels all across the country.  And those jobs, they weren’t there four years ago.

And, sure, not all technologies we bet on will pan out.  Some of the businesses we encourage will fail.  But I promise you this:  There is a future for manufacturing in America.  (Applause.)   There’s a future for clean energy in America.  (Applause.)

I refuse to cede that future to other countries.  I don’t want a tax code that rewards companies for creating jobs overseas; I want to reward companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  I don’t want a tax code that subsidizes oil company profits when they’re already making money hand over fist.  I want to support the energy jobs of tomorrow, the new technologies that will cut our oil imports in half.  That’s my plan for jobs and growth.  (Applause.)  That’s the future that I see for America.

Change is finally turning the page on a decade of war to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)  So long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will pursue our enemies with the strongest military the world has ever known.  We will not let up.  But it’s time to use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to start paying down our debt and rebuild America.

Right now — we could be putting more folks back to work right now, fixing roads and bridges, expanding broadband to rural neighborhoods, making sure our schools are state-of-the-art.  Let’s put Americans back to work doing the work that needs to be done — (applause) — especially our veterans, because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)

That’s my commitment to you.  That’s what’s at stake in this election.  Change is a future where, yes, we reduce our deficit, but we do it in a balanced, responsible way.  I’ve already signed a trillion dollars’ worth of spending cuts.  I’ll work with both parties to streamline agencies and get rid of programs that don’t work.  But if we’re really serious about the deficit, then we’ve also got to ask the wealthiest Americans to go back to the tax rates they paid when Bill Clinton was President.  (Applause.)

Because as long as I’m President, I am not going to turn Medicare into a voucher just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)  I won’t allow this nation to be plunged into another battle over health care reform just so insurance companies can jump back in the driver’s seat.  (Applause.)  And I will never allow politicians in Washington to control the health care choices that women should make for themselves.  (Applause.)

So, Nevada, we know what change is.  We know what the future requires.  We don’t need a big government agenda, or a small government agenda; we need a middle-class agenda that rewards the values of hard work and responsibility.  We don’t need a partisan agenda — we need a common-sense agenda that says when we educate a poor child, we’ll all be better off; that says when we fund the research of a young scientist, her new discovery will benefit every American.

We need a vision that says we don’t just look out for ourselves; we look out for one another.  We look out for future generations.  We meet those obligations working together.  That’s the change we believe in.  And that’s what this election is all about.  (Applause.)  That’s what this election is all about.  (Applause.)

Now, Nevada, let’s be clear — achieving this agenda won’t be easy.  It’s never been easy.  We always knew it would be hard.  Back in 2008, when we talked about change, I told you I wasn’t just talking about changing presidents.  I wasn’t just talking about changing political parties.  I was talking about changing our politics.  I ran because the voices of the American people — your voices — had been shut out of our democracy for way too long — by lobbyists and special interests; by politicians who believed that compromise is a dirty word; by folks who would say anything to stay in office or win office, or do anything to make sure that the special interests who support them get what they want.

The protectors of the status quo are a powerful force in Washington.  And over the last four years, every time we’ve pushed to make change, they fought back with everything they’ve got.  They spent millions to stop us from reforming health care; spent millions to fight us when we tried to reform Wall Street.  Their strategy from the start was to engineer pure gridlock, refusing to compromise on ideas that both Democrats and Republicans had supported in the past.

And what they’re counting on now is that the American people will be so worn down by all the squabbling in Washington, so tired of all the dysfunction, that you’ll actually reward their obstruction, and put people back in charge who advocate the very same policies that got us into this mess.


THE PRESIDENT:  In other words, their bet is on cynicism.  But, Nevada, my bet is on you.  (Applause.)  My bet is on you.  My bet is on the decency and good sense of the American people.  Because despite all the resistance, despite all the setbacks, we have never lost sight of the vision that we shared –- that you’d have a voice; that there would be somebody at the table fighting every single day for middle-class Americans, for folks who are striving to get into the middle class.  (Applause.)

Sometimes Republicans in Congress have worked with me to meet our goals, and nobody could be happier.  We cut taxes for small businesses and families like yours, and they helped.  We opened new markets for American goods.  We finally repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and we had some courageous Republican senators supporting us.  (Applause.)

But, yes, we’ve also had some big fights — like when we forced the banks to stop overcharging for student loans, and made college affordable for millions of students; like when we forced Wall Street to abide by the toughest rules since the 1930s; like when we stopped insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with preexisting conditions like cancer or diabetes, so that no one in America goes bankrupt just because they get sick.  (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t fight those fights for any partisan advantage.  I’ve shown my willingness to work with anybody, of any party, to move this country forward.  And if you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders — whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, independents — who feel the same way.  You’ll vote for candidates like Shelley Berkley, and Dina Titus, and John Oceguera, and Steve Horsford  — (applause) — people who just want to fix problems and help America, and work on behalf of hardworking families like yours.

But if the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals that will kick students off of financial aid, or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, or eliminate health care for millions on Medicaid who are poor, or elderly, or disabled, just to give a millionaire a tax cut — I’m not having it.  (Applause.)  That’s not a deal worth having.  That’s not bipartisanship.  That’s not real change.  That’s surrender to the same status quo that’s hurt middle-class families for way too long.  And I’m not ready to give up on the fight just yet.  (Applause.)

I’m not giving up on the fight, and I hope you aren’t either, Nevada.  (Applause.)  I hope you aren’t either.  I need you still fired up.  (Applause.)

The folks at the very top in this country, they don’t need a champion in Washington.  They’ll always have a seat at the table.  They’ll always have access and influence.  That’s okay, we understand that.  But the people who need a champion are the Americans whose letters I read late at night; the men and women I meet on the campaign trail every single day.

The laid-off furniture worker who is retraining at the age of 55 after they got laid off — she needs a champion.  The small restaurant owner who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down — he needs a champion.  (Applause.)  The cooks and waiters and cleaning staff working overtime at a Vegas hotel, trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kid to college — they need a champion.  (Applause.)

The autoworker who’s back on the job after thinking he might never go back, filled with the pride and dignity of building a great American car — he needs a champion.  (Applause.)  The young teacher doing her best in an overcrowded classroom with outdated textbooks, digging into her own pocket to buy school supplies, never giving up on those kids, understanding that they can learn — she needs a champion.  (Applause.)

And all those young people in inner cities and small farm towns, in the valleys of Ohio, or rolling Virginia hills, or right here in Vegas or way up in Elko — kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors, engineers or entrepreneurs, diplomats, maybe even a president — they need a champion in Washington.  (Applause.)

The future will never have as many lobbyists as the past, but it’s the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace.  (Applause.)  And that’s why I need you, Nevada — to make sure their voices are heard; to make sure your voices are heard.

We’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)  We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint, to go weary.  (Applause.)  Now is the time to keep pushing forward — to educate all our kids and train all our workers, to create new jobs and rebuild our infrastructure, to discover new sources of energy, to broaden opportunity, to grow our middle class, to restore our democracy — to make sure that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or how you started out, you can make it here in America.  (Applause.)  That’s why we are moving forward.  (Applause.)

In the midst of the Great Depression, FDR reminded the country that “failure is not an American habit; and in the strength of great hope we must all shoulder our common load.”  That’s the strength we need today.


THE PRESIDENT:  That’s the hope I’m asking you to share.  That’s the future in our sight.  That’s why I’m asking you for your vote.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m asking you, Nevada, for your vote.

And if you’re willing to work with me, and knock on some doors with me, and make some phone calls for me — (applause) — if you’re willing to turn out for me, and grab some friends and neighbors for me, we’ll win Clark County again.  (Applause.)  We’ll win Nevada again.  (Applause.)  We’ll win this election.  And together, we’ll renew the bonds and reaffirm the spirit that make the United States of America the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Let’s go vote!  Let’s get this done!

2:35 P.M. PDT

Campaign Headlines November 1, 2012: Mitt Romney Says He Supports FEMA




Romney Says He Supports FEMA

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-1-12

Win McNamee/Getty Images

With so much attention this week on Hurricane Sandy and the response to its ravaging, year-old comments by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggesting that disaster relief should fall more to the states and the private sector have received new scrutiny….

Romney, who suspended his campaign rallies in favor of donation drives for Sandy on Tuesday, stated his position on FEMA in a statement to ABC News Thursday.

“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters,” he said. “As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”…READ MORE

Full Text Political Buzz October 31, 2012: President Barack Obama and Governor Chris Christie’s Speeches After Surveying Damage from Hurricane Sandy at the Brigantine Marina in Brigantine, New Jersey



President Obama Tours Storm Damage in New Jersey

Source: WH, 11-1-12
President Obama and Gov. Christie Survey Storm DamagePresident Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talk with citizens who are recovering from Hurricane Sandy, while surveying storm damage in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Yesterday, the President was in New Jersey to witness first-hand the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and comfort the Americans affected by the storm. With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he surveyed the damage from Marine One, walked the streets of Brigantine, and visited a community center now serving as shelter for displaced residents.

After speaking with residents and hearing their stories, the President spoke, alongside Governor Chris Christie, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and other officials, to reassure those affected by the storm of recovery, and pledge the full support of the federal government every step of the way. He reminded the American people of our remarkable ability to come together as a country when we go through tough times, and the importance of never leaving anybody behind:

And when you see folks like that respond with strength and resilience, when you see neighbors helping neighbors, then you’re reminded about what America is all about.  We go through tough times, but we bounce back.  And the reason we bounce back is because we look out for one another and we don’t leave anybody behind. And so my commitment to the people on this block, the people in this community, and the people of this state is that that same spirit will carry over all the way through until our work is done.

Remarks by the President and Governor Christie After Surveying Damage from Hurricane Sandy

Source: WH, 10-31-12 

Brigantine Marina
Brigantine, New Jersey

4:38 P.M. EDT

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE:  Good afternoon, everybody.  And thank you all for coming today.  I want to thank the members who are here as well.  And obviously, I want to thank the President.

We spent a significant afternoon together surveying the damage up and down the New Jersey coastline; we were on Marine One together to be able to show the President that personally.  I had an opportunity to see it, and we had an opportunity to discuss it at length.  And then, going over to the shelter here, being able to meet with folks to have them see the President and his concern, and the concern that all of us have for making sure that things get back to normal as quickly as possible.

We have lots of challenges.  One of our challenges now is to get back to normalcy.  And so the things we need to do is to make sure that we get power restored as quickly as possible; make sure that people have clean drinking water, and waste water treatment plants are working; hospitals are taken care of the way they need to; and that we get kids back to school.

And so, I discussed all those issues today with the President, and I’m pleased to report that he has sprung into action immediately to help get us those things while we were in the car riding together.  So I want to thank him for that.  He has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit.  I think this is our sixth conversation since the weekend, and it’s been a great working relationship to make sure that we’re doing the jobs that people elected us to do.  And I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.  And I heard it on the phone conversations with him, and I was able to witness it today personally.

And so we’re going to continue to work.  The state government is here.  We’re doing what we need to do.  We’re coordinating with FEMA, and I want to thank Administrator Fugate for being here and for the input he’s already had in helping to make our operation even better.  And we will move on from here.

What I said yesterday I really mean.  I know there has got to be sorrow, and you see that and the President has seen that today in the eyes — the faces of a lot of the folks he’s met.  And that sorrow is appropriate; we’ve suffered some loss.  Luckily, we haven’t suffered that much loss of life and we thank God for that.  But we have suffered losses, and this is the worst storm that I’ve seen in my lifetime in this state.  But we cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all New Jerseyans have.  And so we will get up and we’ll get this thing rebuilt, and we’ll put things back together, because that’s what this state is all about and always has been all about.

And so for all of you who are here — and I met a bunch of you today at Brigantine who disregarded my admonition — (laughter) — to get the hell out of here — you’re forgiven this time.  You are forgiven this time, but not for much longer.  We’ve got to make sure when all of you look around and you see all this destruction, that’s fine — but you know what, all that stuff can be replaced.  You look to your right and to your left, to your husband or wife, your son or your daughter — those are the things that can’t be replaced.  So I’m glad that we don’t have that kind of loss of life to have to deal with.

So I want to thank him for being here today, for bringing his personal attention to it.  And it’s my honor to introduce to all of you the President of the United States.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Let me just make sure that I acknowledge the folks who are here, because they’ve played an important role in this.

First of all, your congressional delegation — Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, and Brigantine Mayor Philip Guenther.

Obviously, this is a federal, state, and local effort.  And the first thing I want to do is just to thank everybody who has been involved in the entire rescue and recovery process.  At the top of my list, I have to say that Governor Christie throughout this process has been responsive; he has been aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm.  And I think the people of New Jersey recognize that he has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before.  So I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.

I want to thank the congressional delegation because part of the reason we’re going to be able to respond quickly to all this is because they helped to make sure that FEMA financing was in place, and we’re very appreciative of those efforts.  And I want to thank Craig Fugate; sometimes people just think FEMA and they don’t think the people behind them, but Craig lives and breathes this stuff, making sure that we’re providing the help that people so desperately need in these situations.

I want to thank all the first responders who have been involved in this process — the linesmen, the firefighters, the folks who were in here shuttling out people who were supposed to “get the hell out” and didn’t.  You’ve helped to save a lot of lives and a lot of property.  And one of the things that you learn in these tragedies is, the first responders — keep in mind their homes usually are underwater too, or their families have been affected in some way, and yet they make those personal sacrifices to help other people.  So we really appreciate them.

I’m just going to make a couple of comments.  Number one, and most important, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones.  It’s true that because of some good preparation, the loss of life was kept lower than it might have been, but for those individual families, obviously their world has been torn apart.  And we need to make sure that everybody who has lost a loved one knows they’re in our thoughts and prayers — and I speak for the whole country there.

For those like the people I just had the chance to meet on this block and throughout New Jersey and throughout the region whose lives have been upended, my second message is we are here for you, and we will not forget; we will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you’ve rebuilt.

At this point, our main focus is on the states of New Jersey, which got hit harder than anybody; the state of New York, particularly lower Manhattan and Long Island.  We are very concerned about some situations in Connecticut as well, and we’re still monitoring West Virginia where there are heavy snows in some inaccessible areas.  But for the most part, those four states are really bearing the brunt of this incredible storm.

What we’ve been able to do is to pre-position and stage commodities — water, power generators, ambulances in some cases, food, medical supplies, emergency supplies — and we have over 2,000 FEMA personnel that are on the ground right now.  Their job, now that we’re moving out of the search-and-rescue phase, is to make sure that they are going out and talking to individual communities so that people know exactly how they can get the help that they need.

We expedited our emergency declarations for the state of New Jersey and local counties that have been affected.  What that means is, is that people can immediately start registering for emergency assistance.  And one of the things I want to emphasize to the people of New Jersey and throughout the region:  Now that you’re safe, your family is safe, but you’re trying to figure out where you’re going to stay for the next couple of days, et cetera, it’s very important that you know that there is help available to you right now, for example, to find rental housing or to be able to pay for some groceries.  Over at the community center we saw a young woman who had a newborn, or I guess probably an eight-month old, still needs diapers and formula, and has run out.  Those are the kinds of basic supplies and help that we can provide.

If you call 800-621-FEMA — 800-621-FEMA — or DisasterAssistance.gov — if you’ve got access to the Internet, you can go to DisasterAssistance.gov.  What that allows you to do is to register right now so that you can immediately start receiving help.  We want to make sure that you get everything that you need.

Just a couple of final points.  Obviously, our biggest priority right now is getting power turned back on.  We were very pleased that Newark got power yesterday; Jersey City is getting power we believe today.  But there are still big chunks of the community, including this community right here, that don’t have power.  And so it’s hard enough cleaning up debris and dealing with boats that have been upended and roads that are blocked; when people don’t have power, though, obviously they’re disabled in all sorts of ways and it’s hard to get back to normal.

So yesterday, I had a chance to speak to the CEOs of the utilities from all across the country.  And a lot of the states that were spared, that were not hard hit, or some states as far away as California, they have pledged to start getting equipment crews, et cetera, here into New Jersey and New York and Connecticut as quickly as possible.

And one of the things that we’ve been able to do — just to give you a sense of how this is an all-hands-deck approach — we’re able to get C-17s and C-130s, military transport planes, potentially, to move assets, personnel to speed up the process of getting power up and running as soon as possible.

Our first priority is water filtration plants and some other critical infrastructure in the state; for that, we’ve got emergency generators.  We’ve got a Navy ship that has some helicopters that can help to move assets around the state as well.  And so we’re going to be working with Governor Christie’s office and local officials to identify what are those critical infrastructure, how can we get what’s needed as quickly as possible.

Just a couple of other things that we’re concerned about — one is, as power starts coming back on, we want to make sure that people can also get to work.  Obviously, there are a lot of folks in Jersey who work in New York, in the city, and in other places where transportation may be hobbled.  One of the things I mentioned to the Governor is the possibility of us using federal assets, military assets, as well as taking inventory of assets from around the country that can be brought in so that we can help people get to their work.

And Governor Christie also mentioned the importance of schools.  The sooner we can get our kids back into school, the sooner they’re back into a routine; that obviously helps the families and helps the kids as well.

So we’re going to have a lot of work to do.  I don’t want anybody to feel that somehow this is all going to get cleaned up overnight.  We want to make sure that people have realistic expectations.

But what I can promise you is that the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we will not quit until this is done.  And the directive that I have given — and I said this yesterday, but I will repeat; and I think Craig and others who are working with me right now know I mean it — we are not going to tolerate red tape.  We’re not going to tolerate bureaucracy.  And I’ve instituted a 15-minute rule, essentially, on my team:  You return everybody’s phone calls in 15 minutes, whether it’s the mayors’, the governors’, county officials’.  If they need something, we figure out a way to say yes.

As I was just gathering around, I had a chance to talk to some of the young people here who have been volunteering, going up and down the block cleaning up debris.  And when we were over at the community center, there was a restaurant owner who, for the last 18 hours, had been cooking meals, just as his contribution to the recovery process.  And some of the folks were saying the food was better than they got at home.  (Laughter.)  You had a 15-year-old young man whose mother was disabled, and he was making sure that she was okay, and taking on extraordinary responsibilities for himself but also for his mom.

And when you see folks like that respond with strength and resilience, when you see neighbors helping neighbors, then you’re reminded about what America is all about.  We go through tough times, but we bounce back.  And the reason we bounce back is because we look out for one another and we don’t leave anybody behind.

And so my commitment to the people on this block, the people in this community, and the people of this state is that that same spirit will carry over all the way through until our work is done.  All right?

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

4:51 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 31, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Coral Gables, Florida — Romney Trades Barbs for Optimism in First Speech Since Sandy




Romney Trades Barbs for Optimism in First Speech Since Sandy

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-31-12

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As President Obama headed to storm-ravaged New Jersey for a tour with Gov. Chris Christie, Mitt Romney was back on the stump in Florida Wednesday for his first full day of campaigning since Hurricane Sandy devastated areas of the East Coast.

Romney maintained a more subdued tone in Tampa, Fla., trading harsh attacks on Obama’s tenure for a more positive set of remarks then one might be expect just days before election day.

“We come together in times like this and we want to make sure that they have a speedy and quick recovery from their financial and in many cases, personal loss,” said Romney, opening his remarks in Tampa by encouraging Red Cross donations for storm relief efforts.  Romney was joined by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, who also made mention of Sandy and encouraged donations…..READ MORE

Mitt Romney: “It’s Time To Take A New Path Of Bold, Aggressive Change”


Boston, MA

United States

Coral Gables, Florida

October 31, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “We also have other challenges. We have some 23 million Americans that are struggling to get a good job. We also have 1 out of 6 Americans living in poverty. We have 47 million Americans on food stamps. That’s what’s happening here at home. Then around the world, we face challenges as well, as Iran speeds along its course to become nuclear, as we also face competition for jobs from China and other nations. We face some real challenges. And as a result of that, it is my view that we should not continue along the same path but it’s time to take a new path of bold, aggressive change because the road we’re on is not doing so well. Now, you probably know, as I think about what we need to do, I actually have a plan with five key steps to get this economy going and to make sure that when you graduate there’ll be a job there and to get those 23 million people working and to make sure that we help people get off of food stamps because they got good jobs and good incomes. And for that to happen these five steps will create 12 million jobs. And because of those jobs, you’ll see more take-home pay.”

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