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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Obama Warns Gulf Coast Residents Ahead of Storm


TAMPA, Fla. - President Obama urged Gulf Coast residents to pay attention to Tropical Storm Isaac and make preparations for a “dangerous” storm that is likely to hit late Tuesday.

In a brief statement before leaving the White House for a two-day campaign swing, Mr. Obama said his administration had moved resources into the area to help affected residents.

“We are dealing with a big storm, and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area,” Mr. Obama said. “Now is not the time to tempt fate.”

Mr. Obama is scheduled to visit Iowa and Colorado on Tuesday before heading on to Virginia on Wednesday. The visits coincide with th e Republican National Convention here in Tampa, where Mitt Romney will be officially nominated on Tuesday.

But Mr. Obama promised to keep his focus on the welfare of the people in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast communities.

“As president, I'll continue to make sure that the federal government is doing everything possible to prepare for and recover from this dangerous storm,” he said.

With the memory of the battering that his predecessor took following the Bush administration's widely disparaged response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Mr. Obama seemed to be taking pains to show that his administration is on top of things this time around. Several times during his remarks he specified that he has personally directed various federal agencies to do all they can.

“I just got an update from Secretary Napolitano,” he said, referring to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. And “yesterday I approved a disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana.”

Mr. Obama said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been working on preparing for the storm for a week. He warned Gulf Coast residents to “listen” if officials tell them to evacuate.