Full Text September 4, 2011: President Barack Obama Tours New Jersey Towns Wayne and Paterson Ravaged by Hurricane Irene

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

 

President Barack Obama talks with residents in a neighborhood hit with flooding
President Barack Obama talks with residents in a neighborhood hit with flooding from Hurricane Irene, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 9/4/11

President Obama to Hurricane Irene Victims: The Entire Country is Behind You

Source: WH, 9-4-11
President Barack Obama walks with local and federal officials in a neighborhood hit with flooding from Hurricane Irene

President Barack Obama walks with local and federal officials in a neighborhood hit with flooding from Hurricane Irene in Wayne, N.J., Sept. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today President Obama travelled to Wayne and Paterson, New Jersey to tour areas damaged by Hurricane Irene.  While visiting the Temple Street Bridge in Paterson, the President gave brief remarks reassuring the people of New Jersey and all those affected by Hurricane Irene that the federal, state and local governments would be there to help them rebuild after the devastating storm.

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.

And I know that there’s been some talk about whether there’s going to be a slowdown in getting funding out here, emergency relief.  As President of the United States, I want to make it very clear that we are going to meet our federal obligations — because we’re one country, and when one part of the country gets affected, whether it’s a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, or a hurricane that affects the Eastern Seaboard, then we come together as one country and we make sure that everybody gets the help that they need.  And the last thing that the residents here of Paterson or the residents of Vermont or the residents of upstate New York need is Washington politics getting in the way of us making sure that we are doing what we can to help communities that have been badly affected.

So, again, I want to thank federal, state, local officials who have been working around the clock to respond to this crisis. We know it could have been worse but we should not underestimate the heartache that’s going through a lot of these communities and affecting a lot of these families.  And we want to make sure that we’re there to help, and I’m going to make sure that even after the cameras are gone and attention is somewhere else that FEMA and federal officials continue to work with our local officials to make sure we’re doing the right thing.

President Barack Obama talks with residents in a neighborhood hit with flooding from Hurricane Irene in Wayne, N.J.

President Barack Obama talks with residents in a neighborhood hit with flooding from Hurricane Irene in Wayne, N.J., Sept. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie look at the swollen Passaic River from the Main Street Bridge in Paterson

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie look at the swollen Passaic River from the Main Street Bridge in Paterson, N.J., Sept. 4,, 2011.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President

Temple Street Bridge

Paterson, New Jersey

1:44 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, obviously visiting Wayne, visiting Paterson, many of these surrounding communities, gives you a sense of the devastation that’s taken place not only here in New Jersey but in upstate New York and Vermont and a whole range of states that were affected by Hurricane Irene.

I want to thank Governor Christie, Mayor Jones, the entire congressional delegation that has coordinated in an unprecedented way to try to deal with this crisis.  And part of what I think has helped to avert even worse tragedies and greater loss of life is because of the extraordinary responsiveness and farsighted thinking of state, local and federal personnel.  I’m very proud of the work that FEMA has done not only from our central agency but, more importantly, the folks locally here on the ground who have been coordinating with the emergency management teams here in New Jersey.

I want to thank the Red Cross for their extraordinary responsiveness.  We’ve seen a huge outpouring of volunteers; the private sector is getting involved in trying to do what they can to help the communities that have been hard hit.

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.

And I know that there’s been some talk about whether there’s going to be a slowdown in getting funding out here, emergency relief.  As President of the United States, I want to make it very clear that we are going to meet our federal obligations — because we’re one country, and when one part of the country gets affected, whether it’s a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, or a hurricane that affects the Eastern Seaboard, then we come together as one country and we make sure that everybody gets the help that they need.  And the last thing that the residents here of Paterson or the residents of Vermont or the residents of upstate New York need is Washington politics getting in the way of us making sure that we are doing what we can to help communities that have been badly affected.

So, again, I want to thank federal, state, local officials who have been working around the clock to respond to this crisis. We know it could have been worse but we should not underestimate the heartache that’s going through a lot of these communities and affecting a lot of these families.  And we want to make sure that we’re there to help, and I’m going to make sure that even after the cameras are gone and attention is somewhere else that FEMA and federal officials continue to work with our local officials to make sure we’re doing the right thing.

So, thank you, guys.

Q    Mr. President, Congressman Cantor has talked about offsetting budget cuts —

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to make sure resources are here. All right?

END
1:46 P.M. EDT

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