After cutting short his latest campaign swing, President Barack Obama told the nation the government is prepared for Hurricane Sandyís landfall but told the public to expect a difficult cleanup.
ďIím confident that weíre ready, but I think the public needs to prepare for the fact that itís going to take a long time to clean up. The good news is we will clean up and weíll get through this,Ē Obama told reporters in a rare appearance in the White House briefing room.
Obama, asked about the effect on the election, said that wasnít his priority.
ďIím not worried at this point about the impact on the election. Iím worried about the impact on families, Iím worried about the impact on our first responders, Iím worried about the impact on our economy and transportation. The election will take care of itself next week,Ē 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.
ďIf the publicís not following instructions ... that means we could have fatalities that could have been avoided,Ē he warned.
And Obama said he was confident the nation would pull together.
ďThis is going to be a big storm, itís 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.Ē
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.