NationNation Now

Obama tours tornado damage, says Arkansas 'not doing this work alone'

Politics
"I'm here to remind them that they're not doing this work alone," Obama says in visit to Arkansas
Obama's trip to Arkansas to view tornado damage was his first to the state as president

President Obama on Wednesday toured streets strewn with debris and wrecked homes in Vilonia, Ark., promising the federal government would help the town recover from a tornado that killed 15 people last month.

In brief remarks from a rubble-filled subdivision, Obama said he’d come to make sure the victims know “your country is going to be there for you.”

“Because when something like this happens to a wonderful community like this one, it happens to all of us,” he said.

The president’s trip was his first to Arkansas as president; Obama had little reason to campaign in the Republican-leaning state in 2012.

He was greeted at the airport by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, and Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican. Obama viewed the storm-damaged homes north of Little Rock from Marine One, the presidential helicopter, before meeting with first responders and victims' families in Vilonia, where a twister upended cars and leveled buildings on April 27. He later walked the battered area, navigating through the piles of wood, trash and water-logged belongings.

Obama noted that the disaster was compounded by the fact that many in Vilonia had just rebuilt from another severe tornado three years ago.

“Folks here are tough. They look out for one another, and that's been especially clear the past week,” Obama said. “I’m here to remind them that they’re not doing this work alone.”

More than 400 federal emergency workers have been deployed in the South and Southeast, where storms hit several communities late last month, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

The president issued a major disaster declaration for the region. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visited last week.

Obama made his brief stop on the way to Southern California, where he is scheduled to raise money for Democratic candidates. He is due to land in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Politics
  • White House intruder arrested after entering front doors
    White House intruder arrested after entering front doors

    An intruder scaled a White House fence and made it all the way into the building Friday evening before he was caught and wrestled to the ground by security officers, the Secret Service said. President Obama and his family had already left for Camp David when the incident occurred.

  • Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past
    Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past

    Don Spirit, a Florida grandfather who fatally shot his daughter Sarah Lorraine Spirit and six grandchildren before killing himself, had a long history of domestic violence — at one point pushing his pregnant daughter against a refrigerator and assaulting and threatening his former...

  • Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?
    Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?

    In Texas, where the governor once urged the public to pray for rain, this week’s torrential storms might finally be a sign of lasting relief for the state plagued by years of drought. Or maybe not.

  • For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war
    For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war

    Lawmakers' votes this week on whether or not to train and equip Syrian opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State were arguably the most consequential after nearly two years in which Congress is likely to set a new low for productivity.

  • Egyptian militant admits links to 1998 U.S. embassy bombings

    A longtime Egyptian militant with ties to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden admitted in federal court Friday that he had links to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, a surprise guilty plea that the judge sharply questioned because it reduces his prison time from a potential life sentence to...

  • Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels
    Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels

    What was supposed to be a no-drama final session of Congress before the campaign season turned into anything but as President Obama's new strategy to combat the threat from Islamic State resulted in a wrenching vote that is likely to reverberate through the midterm election and...

Comments
Loading