President Obama may have suspended his campaign rallies due to Hurricane Sandy, but he managed to squeeze in his campaign slogan — intentionally or not — during a briefing Tuesday with federal emergency officials.
“The president made clear that he expects his team to remain focused as the immediate impacts of Hurricane Sandy continue and lean forward in their response,” the White House said in a statement about Mr. Obama’s video-teleconference that he conducted from the White House Situation Room. “Forward” is the slogan of his re-election campaign.
Mr. Obama canceled all campaign events on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as the storm lashed the East Coast, causing billions of dollars worth of destruction, resulting in several deaths and interrupting power for millions of residents.
He was joined on the video conference by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and other federal officials.
The White House said Mr. Obama “expressed his concern for those impacted by the storm, as well as the heroic first responders who are selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way to protect members of their communities. He also noted his sadness over the loss of life associated with the storm so far.”
Mr. Fugate briefed the group on coordination of state and local responders and National Guard units that have been activated in several states.
Mr. Obama told his team that their top priority is to make sure all available resources are provided to state and local responders as quickly as possible, and “directed them to identify and resolve any potential bottlenecks or shortfalls should they arise.”