Just hours before planning to leave Washington for a campaign trip to Florida, President Obama visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a briefing on the latest preparations for Hurricane Sandy.
Mr. Obama met with FEMA Director Craig Fugate and held a conference call with governors and mayors whose states and cities are most likely to be impacted by the storm. Afterward , he urged everyone on the Eastern seaboard to take the storm seriously, visit www.ready.gov to get information on how to prepare, and look out for neighbors and the elderly in their community.
"This is a serious storm," he said. "and my first message is to all the people across the Eastern Seaboard, mid-Atlantic, going north, that 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."
During the remarks, the president made no mention of his three-day campaign swing beginning in Orlando, Florida, where he has a rally scheduled on Monday with President Clinton. As of Sunday evening, the president's had already canceled an event in Virginia Monday evening and one in Colorado Tuesday evening and his campaign schedule for the rest of the week remained in flux ahead of the hurricane Sandy's landfall.
Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president, has also altered his campaign schedule to spend more time in Ohio instead of holding campaign events in Virginia Sunday.
Instead he focused on preparations, expressing confidence that all the resources, commodities and equipment are in place to respond to the storm as best as possible. He also said the storm is unique because it is slow-moving.
"That means it may take a long time not only to clear, but also to get, for example, the power companies back in to clear trees and to put things back in place so folks can start moving back home," he said. "...It's going to be very important that populations in all the impacted states take this seriously, listen to your state and local elected officials."
The storm is currently moving north over the the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to veer west and hit the East Coast sometime early Tuesday.
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Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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