May 21st, 2013
09:59 AM ET
2 years 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. BO HAL

    Yes, hurricanes are different, they are much, much more destructive. Hurricanes are GIANT tornadoes. But apparently still smaller than Inhofe's orifiice.

    May 21, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    @People/Illinois,

    Admittedly, I don't possess a sterling "character", but I don't believe that pointing out Inhofe's voting record on these very same issues is illustrative of that fact. Anyway, peace.

    May 21, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thanks California Gary!

    May 21, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. yeahright

    Michael

    Yeahright. CHeck your facts. The GOP got us into this fiscal situation, not liberals
    --

    Michael- check your eyes. That is exactly the point I was making. I was responding to Ray in Georgia that made that statement.

    May 21, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Independent

    Man these comments just show how evil and mean SOME liberals are, especially on this blog!!!! The only one of you I respect is Tom Paine, he actually has a heart!!! The rest of you have a special place for you when you pass from this life!!! I don't care what party you are affiliated with, when something like this happens, we need to COME TOGETHER as Americans!!!

    May 21, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Peoples State of Illinois
    @Dominican mama 4 Obama and Dutch,

    Your responses are disappointing, but not unexpected
    -----------------
    Let me be perfectly clear and frank: it matters less than nothing to me that I have dissappointed someone like you.
    You may suffer from convenient personal amnesia in regards to your posts on this board, but I don't.
    Now save the drama for someone else's mama.
    -----–
    May you have an interesting life.

    May 21, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Independent

    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.
    ________________________

    Give it up, at this point you are just trying to convince yourself!!! We all know (especially know) how cold hearted you are!

    May 21, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. California Gary

    Just wondering there Rhinestone Cowboy........which of us "liberal trash" attacked farmers and ranchers? Did I miss something?

    May 21, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Independent

    Peoples State of Illinois

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama and Dutch,

    Your responses are disappointing, but not unexpected. I don't care what you say about anyone from "my team." I did not politicize Sandy and do not think this disaster (or any other) should be politicized. Normally, I am just as partisan as you guys are. Just not today.
    ________________________
    1000% Agreed, I did not either and never will!!!!

    May 21, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Doc1

    I hope the gentlemen(and woman) from New Jersey/New York have a chance to return the gesture.

    May 21, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Praying For OK.

    We are there for you OK.. because Americans help each other.

    May 21, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -California Gary

    Just wondering there Rhinestone Cowboy........which of us "liberal trash" attacked farmers and ranchers? Did I miss something?
    ************
    No, he missed the truth. The sad thing is that a large percentage of the produce in this country is produced in California and New York: yes, New York is an agricultural powerhouse, especially in dairy and meat production. Combine that with Illinois, the other state he singled out, and we really do not need anything from Oklahoma. Of course, OK needs our help, and not just because of this catastrophe. So, whether its meat, grains, produce or money, OK takes far more than it send out.

    May 21, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Independent

    @The TRUTH....
    Cite your sources, I just finished up my degree and I did A TON of research regarding recessions and the great depression and all the data I analyzed stated it was BOTH and in fact the most current recession was more caused by Clinton policies!!! I think you can spin any data any way you want! For example, most research I did linked the last 2008 recession to policies that were put in place by Clinton regarding affordable housing. The data pointed to those policies as be a major contributor to the housing bubble that burst and causing the recession.

    I think it is completely bias to say that one administration caused this and that, it has been the fault of ALL administrations!! I would be your research involves bias data sources and bias analysis. This is the problem with our political environment, you have to be one side or the other to have your voice heard. I support many things Liberal such as gay marriage, women’s rights, and a few others. But I also support all our rights especially the right to own any gun I choose to own! But people like me are rarely heard because there is not enough of us.

    May 21, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. AZ Girl

    Ok Dom & Dutch, I got your back. ~~~> Peoples State: TODAY you're not partisan? My sweet grandma! (Who's buried in Dixon BTW) You are SO! You called everyone who didn't think YOUR way basically insensitive and callous to the people of OK, yet not a word calling out Republican Reps for their insensitivity and callousness. Can't get much more partisan than that. So get off your high horse.

    May 21, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Independent

    As far as my sources, they were about 12 dozen peer reviewed journals and articles, maybe even more.

    May 21, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Now save the drama for someone else's mama."

    Boom! Throw a shoe at him too!

    May 21, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Peoples State of Illinois

    @AZ Girl

    Ok Dom & Dutch, I got your back. ~~~> Peoples State: TODAY you're not partisan? My sweet grandma! (Who's buried in Dixon BTW) You are SO! You called everyone who didn't think YOUR way basically insensitive and callous to the people of OK, yet not a word calling out Republican Reps for their insensitivity and callousness. Can't get much more partisan than that. So get off your high horse.
    ---------------
    Here is what I posted on the other blog about this disaster:

    Peoples State of Illinois

    @The Real Tom Paine

    No one should be using this horrible incident as an opportunity to indulge themselves in online political attacks: lets give it a rest for a day, shall we? Lets hope and pray for the safety and well-being of those afflicted by this catastrophe, and do something to help those in need.
    --–
    Agreed, though quite a few from the left (and a couple from the right) have already done begun the political attacks.
    ---------
    As you were saying? May you too, have an interesting life.

    May 21, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Marcus

    Independent – Between your 'research' and the CBO reports on the current crisis (all available on the web, go check them if you want to find 'points to debunk') which one should get the more credit?
    You can try to twist it all you want but by the end of the day the fact remains... GOP brokes the economy, Dems fix it.

    PS: I trully hope that you didn't included as part of your data in your research that piece of paper made by those two Harvard economists that, at best, doesn't know how to use the Microsoft Excel...

    May 21, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Lee

    I think people are missing the point of the GOP aversion to the Sandy Aid package initially. That bill was jam packed with requests that did not address the people and businesses of NY/NJ; rather, it was more than 1/2 way filled with pork. A better bill minus the greedy special interest funding would have flown through without a hitch. Also, finding a conservative approach to paying for the aid package by cutting some useless programs that benefit only the people that are working on the project. I wish our politicians didn't pander to the 10% loons on the right and left and thought more like the 80% of the rest of us that are more centrist. These blogs are packed with the loons, but there are some of us fair-minded folks in here. God bless or not...your choice.

    May 21, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Lee

    Most importantly, I hope these folks know they are loved and we care for them and hope that the rebuilding goes quickly and they mourn their losses as we mourn with them.

    May 21, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Peoples State of Illinois

    And the left (with the exception of Tom) demonstrates their lack of character. That being said, there are people from my side that I don't agree with their comments today, though they are are not attacking me directly.

    May 21, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Lee

    I think people are missing the point of the GOP aversion to the Sandy Aid package initially. That bill was jam packed with requests that did not address the people and businesses of NY/NJ; rather, it was more than 1/2 way filled with pork.
    ---------------------
    Pork? Over 100,000 utility poles were damaged or destroyed in the NYC tri-state area. Who pays for that?
    Pork? A commuter rail line had several miles of track washed away in several locations. Who pays for that?
    Pork? Several water treatment and water processing plants were damaged. Who pays for that?
    Pork? The subway station at ground zero was flooded and all but destroyed. Who pays for that?
    Pork? A major tunnel under the Hudson River was totally flooded out, to its' roof. Who pays for that?
    Pork? Federal, state, country, and local government buildings were damaged or destroyed. Who pays for that?

    Pork? We all pay for that.

    May 21, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. don in albuquerque

    Memo from the RNC-Ok, enough is enough. Can we get back to Benghazi now.

    May 21, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Jane Stewart

    It is so sweet that there are people who won't speak against Inhofe at this time. So sweet! We shouldn't have to speak about his vote against the Sandy victims. We wouldn't have to had he voted for the Sandy victims. I feel for the Oklahomians as most Americans do and we Americans will fork out a lot of money to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other collectors to help them. Inhofe should not be allowed a free pass on this. He should be barrated. When all is said and done we the United States need to help our sister state but we must point out BS as this time too. The Sandy victims were suffering in the winter. The Oklahoma victims are going to suffer in heat. Which is worse....take you pick. The Sandy victims suffered while Inhofe and his friends dragged their feet. I bet he will not be dragging his feet now but now we must remind this idiot of his unkindness. We must remind Rush Limbaugh, Hanity and other like them of their unkindness. It is time to speak up.

    May 21, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. AZ Girl

    And it's down to semantics... 'quite a few on the left" and "a couple on the right", yep, you are So partisan today.

    And thank you, my life is always interesting working 10 hrs a day, taking care of my family, work/life balance you know. Trying to figure out how much I can give to OK victims, THE SAME AS I DID FOR SANDY AND KATRINA. With no hesitation on any of them. But I'm just a callous liberal what do I know?

    May 21, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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