May 21st, 2013
09:59 AM ET
1 year ago

Sen. Inhofe: 'This thing was huge'

(CNN) – Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said Tuesday morning there was "still a lot of uncertainty" in the aftermath of the disastrous tornado that barreled through Moore, Oklahoma.

But one thing he knows for sure is the area has a long way to go in terms of recovery and emphasized a need to raise a lot of money in the wake of the storm.

"This thing was huge. This is one of the largest ones we had," the Republican senator said on CNN's "Starting Point."

Inhofe pointed to the devastating 1999 tornado that struck the Oklahoma City area, which still ranks as one of the 10 costliest tornadoes in the U.S. since 1950 and caused $1.3 billion in damage. The May EF5 twister killed 36 people and smashed some of the same communities as Monday's tornado.

Officials have initially confirmed that 51 people–including 20 children–were killed in Monday's storm.

Having lived in Oklahoma since he was a child, Inhofe is no stranger to tornadoes, but he said Monday's storm was "so much worse" because of its size and scope.

"I don't know many people who have been raised in Oklahoma who haven't actually been in a tornado one time or another," he said.

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration late Monday night, making available federal funds for the area. Asked what kind of assistance the state needs, Inhofe told CNN's John Berman they "have everything that [they] need" in terms of immediate recovery efforts.

"We have individual assistance, we have public assistance so that came immediately," he said. "I know [Governor] Mary Fallin was in contact with the president, so that's behind us now, that kind of assistance.

"But there are little things you can could do," the fiscal conservative said. "The Salvation Army and the Red Cross have a number where you can make small contributions. It's going to be necessary to raise a lot of money. We had to do this in 1999."

Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy.

Inhofe said after the 1999 storm, more people in Oklahoma built storm shelters and basement safe areas–which can be incredibly expensive in Oklahoma. But Inhofe said those decisions saved lives.

"There would have been a lot more people killed we believe if they had not had that warning some 14 years ago," he said.


Filed under: Jim Inhofe • Oklahoma
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ The Real Tom Paine
    This board has been used for worse purposes than pointing out the hypocrisy of a state Senator. If pointing out the truth of someone's action's and the repercussions of same is taking cheap shots than call me cheap AND stingy. I reserve the same right that you and everyone else excersises on this board to comment as I see fit. I have not passed judgment on your posts if I disagree with them so long as you were not lying, I expect the same courtesy from you in return.

    May 21, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. ghostriter

    Not as bad as Rick Perry cutting funds for his state's emergency response right before one of the worst fire seasons in quite a while.

    And he's one of the jerks that denied Sandy aid. Just as all republicans do, he will now have to go back on his word.

    May 21, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. B.

    How do people like this wind-up in places of responsibility?

    This guy is right out go the 50s.

    May 21, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. PJ

    Rep. Tom Cole, who represents Moore, OK, and has a home there, voted FOR Sandy relief.
    I just thought you might want to know. Should have been pointed out in the article.

    May 21, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Data Driven
    "I sympathize with the sentiment, Tom Paine. Unfortunately, Inhofe's partisan nonsense is going to be a factor in this story,"
    -------------------------------------------------
    My feelings exactly!

    May 21, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    P.S.
    I am a regualr blood donor for the Red Cross.
    While I have NOT sent out a donation to them in the form of cash I certainly hope that the Senators, and the Governor make good use of the blood I freely give several times a year during their time of need.

    May 21, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. plain&simple

    The people affected by the tornado know who comes to their aid!!! They know who is there in their time of need. Our system of government works because generations of senators and house members have built it to do so over time. This current crop of politicians are doing there best to tear down all the good that has been done. Our jobs as Americans is to vote the bums out. Elect people who care about all of us !!

    May 21, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. Peoples State of Illinois

    @The Real Tom Paine

    To everyone out there: Inhofe is their duly elected Senator. I can't stand the man but right now is not the place or time to comment on someone's voting record. Has anyone thought about making a donation to the Red Cross? Has anyone here thought about that, or is using a tragedy to make cheap partisan shots more important, because you can sound so wity on these boards?
    ------------
    Ok folks, if I can agree with Tom, why can't the rest of you, on this particular issue. Work on what can be done to help the people rather than the normal divisive political sniping.

    May 21, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Peoples State of Illinois

    @The Real Tom Paine

    To everyone out there: Inhofe is their duly elected Senator. I can't stand the man but right now is not the place or time to comment on someone's voting record. Has anyone thought about making a donation to the Red Cross? Has anyone here thought about that, or is using a tragedy to make cheap partisan shots more important, because you can sound so wity on these boards?
    ----
    Ok folks, if I can agree with Tom, why can't the rest of you, on this particular issue. Work on what can be done to help the people rather than the normal divisive political sniping.

    May 21, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Data Driven
    "I sympathize with the sentiment, Tom Paine. Unfortunately, Inhofe's partisan nonsense is going to be a factor in this story,"
    -----------------
    My feelings exactly!
    --------–
    It is only going to be a "factor in this story" if you allow it to be. Which would speak about your character, rather than his partisanship.

    May 21, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. California Gary

    Inhofe and Coburn are cut from the same cloth as most of the GOP these days. They hate government and tell others they must fend for themselves........right up until they need government because they can't fend for themselves. Sandy victims? We ain't paying for that! Oklahoma victims? Pass the hat! Of course we'll help them anyway, as we should, but the GOP really needs an attitude adjustment about the usefulness of government.

    May 21, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. The REAL Truth...

    This is the same guy that thinks Benghazi was "huge", and no doubt will be asking for Federal AId $$$ after voting against the same aid for NY/NJ ?? And the right wonders why us intelligent folks have an issue with this behavior ???

    May 21, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Doug in NYC

    Oklahoma is a "taker" state, while New York and New Jersy are "maker" states. Simply put for every dollar Oklahoma sends to the Fereral Government, they get $1.35 or 35% more then they put in. &5 of Oklahoma residents are Federal employees, far more then most states. 20% of Oklahoma residents receive Social Security and about 25% receive some form of Medicaid. Yet despite all of this, the residents keep electing small government republicans that want to cut all of this and hurt Oklahoma residents. Now they come hat in hand asking for help after a devistating storm. I for one say politics shouldn't play a roll and give them all the help they need.

    But in the future they need to look at how this storm, and past storms have affected them and stop voting against their own best interest.

    Like others, I do have one question for the Senators and Congressmen of Oklahoma, where are you going to cut spending to get the aid you need? I suggest looking at your own salaries and office costs and start there. Minimum wage seems good enough for you and your staffs, pay your own medical coverage costs out of that as well. Start there!

    Karma, ain't she a kick!

    May 21, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Here's the difference between what passes for a concervative these days and someone like me: I can call you out on your hypocrisy while at the same time doing the right thing by you and the people of your state.
    Sen Inhofe is a hypocrite of the worst kind and cold-hearted to boot.
    When his state finds itself, once again, in dire need he has no problem reversing his position but not so when others are affected in a similar manner.
    This is the PERFECT time to have this discussion. To point out our differences when it comes to addressing issues of humans in need. It is what sets us apart from some of these creatures we've put in government.

    May 21, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Consercative I meant to type not "concervative". I'm a little pissed off. Pardon.

    May 21, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Donna

    You just have to love how all the leftists in here attack people who simply what the government to act responsibly with their money. These people simply want the government to prioritize their spending. Obviously when these disasters happen aid should be provided. And it is not unfair or unreasonable to expect the government to scale back or cut its frog and cockroach research to provide the money to more important matters at hand. Leftists think we can just keep printing money endlessly to fund every lunatic project they can think of. Reality protrudes on that idiocy.

    May 21, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Aww geez,you know what I meant to spell: Conservative.
    Lord gosh.

    May 21, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Tom Paine

    I appreciate that you want to concentrate soley on the victims and I respect your opinion. Having said that, all natural disaster victims are DEPENDENT upon our congressmembers to help see them through the first days of recovery, let alone the rebuilding of not only their lives, but their homes, their schools, their hospitals ... including their emotions, their stress, and their dignity.

    It is ABSOLUTELY noteworthy that Mr. Inhofe voted against such help for Sandy victims. If we can't as a society and as a government help those in need, we have lost ourselves as a society well beyond a few political witticisms used in pointing these facts out.

    May 21, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Thomas

    Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy.

    Inhofe: Tornado aid ‘totally different’ from Hurricane Sandy aid ?

    ==============

    My heart , thoughts and prairs go out to those in Oklahoma .

    America will help you rebuild .

    Vote this idiot Inhofe out of office !

    May 21, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. yeahright

    PJ

    Rep. Tom Cole, who represents Moore, OK, and has a home there, voted FOR Sandy relief.
    I just thought you might want to know. Should have been pointed out in the article.

    May 21, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |

    Yes, he did. I saw him being interviewed , and he said he voted for it because "next time it could be a tornado in Oklahoma". A Republican with compassion, empathy, who can look beyond petty partisan views. Hard to believe. We need more like him. If this country cannot come together to help citizens in disasters like this one, we are truly not worth saving.

    May 21, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Peoples State of Illinois
    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Data Driven
    "I sympathize with the sentiment, Tom Paine. Unfortunately, Inhofe's partisan nonsense is going to be a factor in this story,"
    -----–
    My feelings exactly!
    --––
    It is only going to be a "factor in this story" if you allow it to be. Which would speak about your character, rather than his partisanship.
    -----------------------------------------------–
    Oh give me a break. Do as I say, not as I do is the philosophy eh? IOKIYAR. Republicans are the first to politicize anything and everything. The criticism of Sen. Inhofe on this Ticker is relevant and fair game. Can you say HYPOCRITE???

    May 21, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Why did you leave your people and fly back to D.C.! Coward! Doesn't stay to help but flees the disaster!
    VOTE THIS COWARD OUT!

    May 21, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is only going to be a "factor in this story" if you allow it to be. Which would speak about your character, rather than his partisanship
    -------------------------------------------------
    Bringing up background facts in this case gives us a panoramic view of the Senator's character, not ours.
    Actions have consequences, and when your past actions make you look like a current hypocrite there is no malice involved in pointing that FACT out.
    This ill-suited attempt of yours of trying to take the high road is (1) Grossly out of place in this case, and (2) A more nuanced way of trying to get us to shut up about inconvenient fact regarding members of your team.
    Not going to work.

    May 21, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    My Wife and I will probably send some money to the Red Cross as we usually do. People will help as they usually do. Sad that the Liberal's have already spent the Nation into Oblivion with a nearly 17 Trillion dollar federal debt. So when a real emergency happens the Debt only rises. Most people can take care of themselves. Something the Liberal's don't understand. How do they think we got to this point? With phony money??

    May 21, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    Oklahoma tornado victims are entitled to federal aid. They should not be punished for the lack of moral character and compassion in their US Senators.

    May 21, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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