After cutting short his latest campaign swing, President Barack Obama told the nation the government is prepared for Hurricane Sandy’s landfall but told the public to expect a difficult cleanup.
“I’m confident that we’re ready, but I think the public needs to prepare for the fact that it’s going to take a long time to clean up. The good news is we will clean up and we’ll get through this,” Obama told reporters in a rare appearance in the White House briefing room.
Obama, asked about the effect on the election, said that wasn’t his priority.
“I’m not worried at this point about the impact on the election. I’m worried about the impact on families, I’m worried about the impact on our first responders, I’m worried about the impact on our economy and transportation. The election will take care of itself next week,” he said.
Obama has scrambled his schedule to focus on the hurricane. He said that he has called all of the governors in the region, and he reported that at this point, their needs have been met and assets are prepositioned. But the president warned that it would take a while to get power back and transportation networks back up.
He also told people to listen to their local authorities and to respond to their requests without delay.
“If the public’s not following instructions ... that means we could have fatalities that could have been avoided,” he warned.
And Obama said he was confident the nation would pull together.
“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 set aside whatever issues we have to make sure we respond appropriately.”
The Obama campaign also used its email list to send out a message to supporters warning them about the storm. Instead of asking for donations to the campaign, however, Obama directs people to Ready.gov for storm preparation and to the Red Cross for relief donations.