President Obama this morning ignored a reporter’s question about the mounting frustration victims of Hurricane Sandy are having with the response to the storm, refusing to let a question from the press interrupt a FEMA photo op in which he was on display taking action.
An excerpt rom the press pool report, which starts with a quote from Obama:
“There is nothing more important than us getting this right. And we’re going to spend as much time, effort and energy as necessary to make sure all the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut know that the entire country is behind them in this difficult recovery effort.”
He spoke for about five minutes. Pool asked about frustrations of people, particularly Staten Island. He did not respond.
No doubt aware of the political perils – and potential benefits – of the fallout from the hurricane, Obama arrived at FEMA with multiple members of his Cabinet in tow in a massive display of presidential concern. Even Cabinet secretaries you wouldn’t expect to be involved in hurricane relief – such as the Secretary of Labor and the Small Business Administration Administrator – have been enlisted and were at this morning’s meeting.
Obama’s effort will indeed have some practical effect – anytime a president shows he is personally engaged in an issue, it helps get the various agencies involved into a higher gear.
But with scenes of devastation proliferating on voters’ TV screens around the nation and evidence mounting of an insufficient response, Obama obviously felt he had to be seen at FEMA for a second time this week before heading back out to campaign.
After the visit to FEMA, Obama departed for Ohio.