Obama visits victims of Hurricane Issac

President Barack Obama greets local residents as he tours the Bridgewood neighborhood in LaPlace, La., on Monday. (Associated Press)
President Barack Obama greets local residents as he tours the Bridgewood neighborhood in LaPlace, La., on Monday. (Associated Press)

Trip follows day of campaigning in Ohio

NEW ORLEANS – President Barack Obama surveyed flood damage caused by Hurricane Isaac and pledged Monday that the federal government will do all it can to help victims get back on their feet.

Meeting with families and local officials dealing with the disaster, Obama promised action to prevent such flooding in the future.

“What I pledge to these folks is to make sure at the federal level we’re getting on the case very quickly” to figure out “what exactly happened here … and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

The president noted that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levee system had been bolstered in the seven years since Hurricane Katrina and had helped protect New Orleans this time.

An aide to the president said the Louisiana visit was “apolitical,” designed to ensure that the federal government’s disaster response was operating optimally. Among officials who briefed him was Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, visited the flooded area Friday, the day after accepting the nomination.

The Obama campaign designated the New Orleans detour as an “official” visit. It came at the end of a campaign day in which Obama delivered a pro-worker Labor Day message in the battleground state of Ohio.

It was not surprising that Democrats used the holiday to talk up unions, but somewhat unusual for the Republican candidate not to campaign on what was once considered the unofficial start of the general election season.

Coming off a week of events at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., Romney took Monday off. He and his family relaxed at their lakeside vacation home in Wolfeboro, N.H., enjoying lunch on the porch. The only public sighting of the Republican nominee came early Monday morning at the marina that maintains his boats.

But Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, campaigned in Greenville, N.C., where he compared Obama to Jimmy Carter – the last Democratic president to lose a re-election bid.

The Carter years “look like the good old days” in comparison with the current state of affairs, Ryan said.

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