Full Text Obama Presidency October 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Hurricane Sandy — Urges Caution for Those in the Path of Hurricane Sandy



President Obama Urges Caution for Those in the Path of Hurricane Sandy

President Obama talks to employees at FEMA

President Barack Obama delivers a statement after receiving an update on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Oct. 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Remarks by the President on Hurricane Sandy

Source: WH, 10-29-12 

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:46 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  I just received a full briefing from our emergency response teams, including FEMA, and agencies that are going to be helpful in the response and recovery efforts — the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Obviously, everybody is aware at this point that this is going to be a big and powerful storm.  And all across the Eastern seaboard, I think everybody is taking the appropriate preparations.

I’ve spoken to all the governors in all these states.  They have issues emergency declarations.  Those have been turned around quickly here in the White House.  We have prepositioned assets so that FEMA personnel are working closely with state and local governments.  We’re making sure that food and water and emergency generation is available for those communities that are going to be hardest hit.

We anticipate that the center of the storm is going to land fall sometime this evening.  But because of the nature of this storm, we are certain that this is going to be a slow-moving process through a wide swath of the country, and millions of people are going to be affected.

So the most important message that I have for the public right now is, please listen to what your state and local officials are saying.  When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate.  Do not delay.  Don’t pause; don’t question the instructions that are being given, because this is a serious storm and it could potentially have fatal consequence if people haven’t acted quickly.

The good news is, is that the governors and local officials I think have had a few days of preparation.  There’s been extraordinarily close coordination between state, federal, and local governments.  And so we’re confident that the assets are prepositioned for an effective response in the aftermath of the storm.

But keep in mind that for folks who are not following instructions, if you are not evacuating when you’ve been asked to evacuate, you’re putting first responders at danger.  We’re going to have to have search-and-rescue teams in and around multiple states all at the same time.  And although we’ve got Coast Guard and the Department of Defense all positioned, if the public is not following instructions, that makes it more dangerous for people and it means that we could have fatalities that could have been avoided.

Transportation is going to be tied up for a long time.  And probably the most significant impact for a lot of people, in addition to flooding, is going to be getting power back on.  We anticipate that there are going to be a lot of trees down, a lot of water.  And despite the fact that the power companies are working very closely with their various state officials and local officials to make sure that they are bringing in as many assets as possible and getting those ready in preparation for the storm, the fact is that a lot of these emergency crews are not going to be able to get into position to start restoring power until some of these winds have died down.  And because of the nature of this storm, that may take several days.

So the public should anticipate that there’s going to be a lot of power outages, and it may take time for that power to get back on.  The same is true with transportation; there are going to be a lot of backlogs, and even after the storm has cleared, it’s going to take a considerable amount of time for airlines, subways, trains, and so forth, potentially to get back on schedule, depending on the amount of damage that has occurred.

Let me summarize just by saying that I’m extraordinarily grateful for the cooperation of our state and local officials.  The conversations that I’ve had with all the governors indicate that at this point there are no unmet needs.  I think everybody is taking this very seriously.  We’ve gotten prepositioned all the resources that we need.

But right now, the key is to make sure that the public is following instructions.  For those of you who still need additional information about how to respond, you can go to Ready.gov — that’s Ready.gov.  And that website should provide you with all the information that your family needs in terms of how you can prepare for this storm.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who are potentially affected.  We are extraordinarily grateful for our first responders, because they’re going to be working 24/7 around the clock, non-stop.  And I want to make sure that our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who may end up be dealing with a very difficult situation over the next several days.

Last point I’ll make, though — this is going to be a big storm.  It’s going to be a difficult storm.  The great thing about America is when we go through tough times like this we all pull together.  We look out for our friends.  We look out for our neighbors.  And we set aside whatever issues we may have otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness.  And that’s exactly what I anticipate is going to happen here.

So I want to thank all the federal teams, state and local teams that are in place.  I’m confident that we’re ready.  But I think the public needs to prepare for the fact that this is going to take a long time for us to clean up.  The good news is we will clean up and we will get through this.

Q    What about the impact on the election, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election.  I’m worried about the impact on families, and I’m worried about the impact on our first responders.  I’m worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation.

The election will take care of itself next week.  Right now, our number-one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search-and-rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get the food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency, and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track.

Thank you, everybody.

12:52 P.M. EDT

Campaign Headlines October 29, 2012: ABC/Washington Post Poll: Mitt Romney Maintains Slight Lead over Barack Obama 49% to 48%




Poll: Romney Maintains Slight Lead over Obama

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-29-12


As it enters its frenetic final week, the presidential race is drawing more close attention than any such contest in 28 years, a testament to a campaign that has been the closest by some measures in pre-election polls dating back even further — to 1960, or even to the early days of polling in 1936.

Support for President Obama and Mitt Romney has averaged 48-48 percent since September, the closest in ABC/Washington Post polls — or Gallup polls before them — in comparable periods dating back 76 years.  It’s also the first contest since 1960 in which neither candidate, in this period, has exceeded 50 percent support (adjusting for third-party vote where applicable).

Holding steady the past three days, the gap is now a single point, with 49 percent support for Romney among likely voters, and 48 percent for Obama in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.  At this stage in 2008, Obama had held majority support since Oct. 11….READ MORE


Campaign Headlines October 29, 2012: Hurricane Sandy Changes Barack Obama Obama, Mitt Romney Campaign Plans




Hurricane Sandy Wallops Obama, Romney Campaign Plans

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-29-12

William Thomas Cain/Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

With eight days to the election and the race locked in a dead heat, Hurricane Sandy has forced President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney to abruptly change the course of their campaigns and prepare their response to a potentially devastating storm.

Obama, who flew out of Washington, D.C., Sunday night ahead of Sandy, cancelled his appearance at a planned Monday morning rally in Orlando, Fla., with former President Bill Clinton to return home to monitor the federal government’s response to the storm.

Romney, meanwhile, plans to keep his campaign at full throttle in three swing states on Monday, with stops in Avon Lake, Ohio; Davenport, Iowa; and West Allis, Wis….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 29, 2012: Mitt Romney Urges Supporters to Persuade Democrats at Ohio Campaign Rally




In Ohio, Romney Urges Supporters to Persuade Democrats

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wrapped up a three-stop bus tour of the Northwestern part of Ohio on Sunday, striking a bipartisan tone with the top of the ticket urging the crowd to talk to their friends who may have cast a ballot for a Democrat in the past.

“Your friends may have voted last time, perhaps in the Democratic primary, they may have voted for who knows?  They may have voted for Hillary Clinton or they may have voted for Barack Obama, they may have voted for then-candidate Obama in the final election,” Romney, standing next to his running mate, told the crowd of about 5,000.

“But I need you to convince them to vote for Paul Ryan and me and that’s not always easy but you can ask them this question: you can say, ‘Do you think everything’s going just fine?,’” he asked, before telling the audience how to pitch his ticket to their friends….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 29, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Camp Eyes Hurricane Sandy as Storm Garners Voters’ Attention




Romney Camp Eyes Sandy as Storm Garners Voters’ Attention

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-29-12

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

One of Mitt Romney’s senior advisers said on Sunday that despite impending wall-to-wall news coverage dedicated to Hurricane Sandy, he feels confident that voters in the key swing states in the region have received enough information ahead of the election and reiterated the campaign’s focus on the safety and well being of those in the storm’s path.

“For people that are living in these states that are going to be impacted you know they’re trying to get as much information about what they can do to keep their families and their properties safe,” said senior adviser Kevin Madden when asked about the possibility that storm coverage could make it harder for the campaign to get their message out to voters in the crucial final days before the election.  “And I think that’s an important priority for them.  It’s been a long campaign I think a lot of folks have gotten a lot of information about the two candidates and so we have a certain degree of confidence that we’ve delivered a message to voters.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines October 29, 2012: President Barack Obama Vows to Respond ‘Big’ and ‘Fast’ to Hurricane Sandy





Obama Vows to Respond ‘Big’ and ‘Fast’ to Hurricane Sandy

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-29-12

Edward Linsmier/Getty Images

As East Coast residents brace for Hurricane Sandy, President Obama visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters Sunday afternoon to receive a briefing on the latest preparations for the storm, expected to make landfall late Monday evening.

“This is a serious and big storm,” the president said in a brief statement to reporters.  “You need to take this very seriously and follow the instructions of your state and local officials, because they are going to be providing you with the best advice in terms of how to deal with this storm over the coming days.”…READ MORE

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