August 31st, 2008
08:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama and Biden urge Gulf Coast evacuation

DUBLIN, Ohio (CNN) – Barack Obama and Joe Biden urged Gulf Coast residents to evacuate as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the region.

"Even if you've ridden out this storm before, even if you think that it may pass over, even if you think that you can wait until the last minute, this is going to be, potentially, very, very serious," said Obama, in a hastily assembled press conference in front of their campaign bus in Central Ohio. "For your own safety and your family's safety, people have to follow the instructions of the officials there to make sure that this evacuation is going smoothly."

Obama spoke to officials including FEMA Director R. David Paulison, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Saturday and said he was passing along their message to evacuate. Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans Saturday, calling Gustav "the storm of the century."

Biden also spoke directly to those in the storm's path, telling them to get out of town to avoid weather that may be worse than Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

"Those folks who rode out, do not ride out again, ride out of town. Get out of town. Do what the governor is suggesting, what the mayor is suggesting, what the senators are suggesting. Get out of town," said Biden.

Obama says they're monitoring the situation and urged continued cooperation between FEMA and the Gulf Coast states, noting that not just Louisiana is likely going to be affected but Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Texas.

Word came late Saturday that John McCain would visit an emergency command post in Jackson, Mississippi on Sunday. Asked if he would visit the area, Obama said that because of the large number of staff and press traveling with him, he might be a distraction.

"I will do whatever is required that is useful but right now the main thing that's useful is letting everybody out there know, please evacuate the area," said Obama.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. InTheWay

    I don't think it's wise to travel to an area that is seriously trying to take care of this emergency of evacuation in a national disaster area. McCain, again I question your judgement putting politics first!

    Bush is the president and I hope he will be there monitoring the situation, why bring your Express and Camera Crew for a photo...
    Just not a cool thing to do!
    Here's an idea, how about introducing your V.P since she is unknown.

    August 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Pat M

    Our thoughts and prayers are with all in the path of Gustav.

    Please take Senator Obama's, Senator Biden's and Mayor Nagin's advice and evacuate for your safety. They are providing the means to evacuate all citizens so please take advantage of these measues. Mayor Nagin also stated yesterday there will not be any aid for those who choose to stay as all their Emerg. Staff will be needed to shore up Gas lines, Levess, etc.

    August 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. W.H. Thomas

    Word came late Saturday that John McCain would visit an emergency command post in Jackson, Mississippi on Sunday. Asked if he would visit the area, Obama said that because of the large number of staff and press traveling with him, he might be a distraction.

    "I will do whatever is required that is useful but right now the main thing that's useful is letting everybody out there know, please evacuate the area," said Obama.

    In other words, our next President Obama will not politize this horrible and unfortunate hurricane. And the tragedy it hopefully wont bestow on the prople of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast again.

    August 31, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Rem Ben'ari

    It's gratifying to see that both the major parties are responding to the urgency posed by hurricane Gustav. Using campaign coverage to echo and amplify common-sense calls for caution makes sense. But more needs to be done.

    Senators Obama and McCain are each convincing about their change-agent street-cred, speaking loudly about policy and programs. But now's the time to let action take the place of words. I urge both campaigns to suspend fundraising and ask supporters to give generously this week to relief and rebuild organizations that, already in place since Katrina, can help ease the pain that's already being felt due to the forced evacuation. I urge each campaign to re-tool their websites so that supporters can be made more aware of the need to act re the pending emergency. I urge them to release new television ads that will help guide us to action.

    I'm sold that a new kind of leadership is needed for this county that, paraphrasing Mr. Obama, can be better than its recently been. Let's not wait until January 20 to step up.

    August 31, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    McCain is looking for a photo op, but it will be only be a reminder of the unforgivable inaction of the Bush/McCain administration and their failures to help American citizens in the most dire of situations.

    Katrina will not be forgotten nor the lives that were lost because of the failures of George W. Bush.

    August 31, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Cynthia

    After the disaster in the aftermath of Katrina – I hope that everyone heeds the warnings of all, Republicans and Democrats.

    August 31, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Mk

    I can't believe that McCain who allegedly puts "Country First"
    would roll into Mississippi with his VP, Secret Service, and whatever else travels with the "Presumptive Rep. Nominee" on such a trip. Those folks down there have their hands full trying to get people out. Talk about a political stunt. It is totally thoughtless and self serving.

    August 31, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. the Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    That is okay with the Nightingale. I think they were a terrible team and glad to say goodbye to them

    Hello John McCain and Sarah Palin. Welcome to Washington. I hope you have a great four years in the the White House.

    obama is risky and I don't want to gamble with my country. Obama is as you know a roll of the dice. Who wants that?

    Obama is left so far left he doesn't know where the middle is.

    Go McCain

    August 31, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. NC Resident

    Thank you Obama for not trying to score political points which McCain is going to try to do today. Let the people who run that town and Bush do what they supposed to do and you continue pushing on as a candidate.
    John McCain I must say is being to presumptuous.

    August 31, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Florida democrat

    Obama should go only b/c many Americans will want to see it.

    McCain is already trying to politicize the potential disaster and is trying to score as many political points as he can by taking advantage of the threats. If he were smart, he would not announce that will go to the area but would instead wait to see how bad it is and then make a decision. .....

    Just like Bush, McCain is ready to jump the gun and run 'into battle' before getting all of his facts.

    August 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. noah

    Wow...Obama is smart..Guess I will vote for him now...Imagine that he had the good judgement to tell people to get out of the way of a killer storm...hmm...Think he might be trying to score some political points much???? In a few weeks will we have an ad where Obama claims he had the good judgement to call for an evacuation...I say let the officials handle this and Obama and Biden need to keep their politics quiet while this country deals with another threat.

    August 31, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Marc

    I would rather listen to Obama and Biden before McCain. Even though Obama won't win because America won't allow an African-American to be in the White House, I like that Obama picked Biden because it would help him in the area that that he is weak in. He didn't pick Biden because it would help him win votes. McCain was suppose to pick somebody that would help him with economics that he is very weak in. Instead, he picked a woman that would help him win those women voters. A woman who is under investigation and wanted the Polar Bears to come off the endangered species list so that they can be hunted. I want the Republicans to remember that even illegal immagrants are coming into the States and getting guns and killing our American citizens. Tell the families that lost a love one to gang violence.

    August 31, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Politically Speaking

    I hope Obama doesn't politicize this like McCain is doing. Seems like he won't. Good judgement President Obama.

    August 31, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Walter

    Will Obama go down to the Gulf and politicize human suffering? No.

    Will McCain do it? Of course. He politicizes everything.

    August 31, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. david

    i think that as an arizonan it is finally time that john mccain made a positive move, as a former republican i have witnessed bad decision after bad decision from john mccain and the people in arizona are used to his bad decision making . he keeps getting elected because az is a red state, the final straw for me was when mccain was a strong advocate for arizona not to have a martin luther king holiday.

    king is arguably one of the most if not most influential americans in history and john mccain said no NO no, now i am an independent, and i cant believe that obama never pointed this out to the american people.

    August 31, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. abbabel

    Right thing to do..Obama.

    My heart and prayer go out to those in New Orleans particularly the very sick who can not be moved. I wish everyone in harms way God protection.

    August 31, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Obama/Biden

    McCain like Bush will bring more threat to our country. Obama/Biden ticket is very strong on national security and Biden as well as Obama is well respected around the world. Obama has better judgment on every single issues that we need on a president than mccain. That is why we must vote Democratic this November to prevent a second 9/11 and have someone who is ready for what ever decission to defend our national security in case of any plot. McCain/Palin ticket I doubt it no foreign policies no experience we cannot risk our country with that ticket.
    Do not listen to the republican scare tactics and believe anything they have to say. The republican is the party we as voters should stay away from this November. They have done enough to our country and the economy and we cannot afford four more years of economic disasters and begging China to lend us money.

    August 31, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. J.C.

    This is unbelievable.
    How can these people risk others' lives to save them later?

    August 31, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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