WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama, knocked off the campaign trail by Hurricane Sandy promised local officials a "powerful response" and to "cut through red tape" to give them any assistance needed. He urged all to take the threat of the storm "seriously."
From the White House: While at FEMA the President participated in a briefing with federal partners including FEMA regional directors. In the briefing the President was joined by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Richard Reed. Other members of the FEMA leadership team were also part of the briefing. National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb joined by video conference.
Following the briefing, the President joined a call with Governors and Mayors from potentially impacted areas to get an update on preparedness efforts underway in those areas. On that call the President was joined by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Richard Reed, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, City of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, City of Newark Mayor Cory Booker.