Obama encourages support for wildfire victims, firefighters
June 30th, 2012
06:02 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama encourages support for wildfire victims, firefighters

(CNN) - President Barack Obama advocated for private support of the victims and firefighters affected by and battling wildfires in Colorado in his weekly address, a message taped during his Friday visit to see the efforts and destruction firsthand.

"For those of you who can provide some help, you should get on the online site of the American Red Cross," Obama said from Colorado Springs. "They're very active in this community and you can make your contributions there. We're going to continue to make sure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Forest Service, our military and National Guard and all the resources that we have available at the federal level are brought to bear in fighting this fire."

As of Friday evening, the death toll had risen to two and nearly 350 homes were impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire, which continued to threaten approximately 20,000 more homes. Firefighters managed to reach 25% containment of the blaze, up from 15% on Thursday.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as high winds - sometimes over 60 miles per hour - and heat sometimes in excess of 90 degrees hampered firefighter's efforts.

The address stands out from the president's other weekly addresses, which have primarily been messages critical of Congress' handling of economic measures he has proposed.

"I know this is a little bit unusual," he said. "We don't usually do weekly addresses like this, but I thought it was a good opportunity for us to actually focus attention on a problem that's going on here in Colorado Springs."

Obama visited firefighters and evacuees in the area on Friday, and said "one of the things that happens here in America is when we see our fellow citizens in trouble and having difficulty, we come together as one American family, as one community.

"And one of the things that I told these firefighters is that we can provide them all the resources they need, but only they provide the courage and the discipline to be able to actually fight these fires," he said. "And it's important that we appreciate what they do not just when our own communities are struck by disaster."

Wildfires are also burning in Arizona and Utah.

Filed under: Colorado • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans have voted to eliminate police, teachers and firefighters. Since they always do the opposite of the president, the GOP will now condemn the victims of the fires as well.

    June 30, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  2. Veteran For Truth

    Brown v. Board of Education was not popular. Leadership is doing what is right, even if it is unpopular. Popularity contests are for High Schools.

    June 30, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Simple Real leader , who care about us

    June 30, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Phyllis G Williams

    Our Heavenly Father loves His children and died for us "For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God" –
    (Deuteronomy 4: 24). Take heart, He has the answer to all problems (Psalm 33: 9)

    June 30, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. judy

    the super pacs and the rich guys should spend their money helping people instead of waging nasty campaigns that will get then nowhere. Obama 2012 Has mitt even talked about the fires.?

    June 30, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. judy

    why are people complaining that the president went to check out the fires? Thats his job ,if he didn't you would be complaining too. This is serious people are hurting. Some have lost everything they worked for. Give it a rest and help if you can.

    June 30, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Frank

    Again, some real leadership from the President. Sometimes it seems like he is the only grownup in the Washington room...

    June 30, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. buy my product or else

    Took him long enough. Did he forget that people in Colorodo vote too?

    June 30, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. str8whtguy

    Give blood. Donate your time or money, even a little bit, to the Red Cross, or any other agency that is providing help to these folks. Get off your butt, quit complaining, and do something to help your fellow Americans. You never know when you might need their help.

    June 30, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    buy my product or else wrote:

    Took him long enough. Did he forget that people in Colorodo vote too?
    Really? Was he supposed to cancel his other duties, like attending G8 and G20 summits? You do realize that FEMA is picking up 75% of the cost, don't you? You do realize that the federal response has been exemplary, don't you?

    Have you heard anyone complaining about a lack of response? I doubt it, and if you did the complaint came from a party that complains about everything Pres. Obama does, anyway.

    June 30, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. SLP

    Can we please put politics aside right now? These people are losing everything they own from these fires. They are real people living through a nightmarish situation. Must everything become a political issue? I do not agree with President Obama the majority of the time. However, he is doing his job by going to these people Thank you, Mr. President. My prayers are with the people in Colorado affected by these fires.

    June 30, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Larry L

    @Patriot Blogger

    Our government has the ability to put these fires out in minutes and not weeks!
    Ahhh... a conspiracy therorist... Please explain to us all exactly how our evil government would put the fires out. While you'e enlighting us also explain the sinister motivation for letting them continue to burn.

    It's worth noting that this sort of capability is exactly what the "smaller government" folks have screaming to cut.

    June 30, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Thomas

    @buy my product or else
    Took him long enough. Did he forget that people in Colorodo vote too?

    Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." –President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown.

    Get Real ! You GOP's will blame Obama for oil spills , Fires , and anything else .

    I'm surprised your not complaining about the cost it took him to fly to Colorado and see for himself.

    June 30, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. American

    President Obama has the right priorities, taking a stand in times of need for Americans.
    Godspeed firefighters.

    June 30, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Harry From Pa

    No mitt hasn't even mentioned the fires, why? Because he cares too much about himself and probably because he doesn't see it as an opportunity to get votes. But the President went out there and seen those trying to stop the fire and save people, I can only imagine the site and massacre of the fire. They say he isn't a leader well at least to fox news, but if you sit back and see what the president is doing, He is really taking the reigns and being a leader. I don't know what it is but there is something about Presidents that hail from Illinios, they might not be the most liked, they may not be rich, but they sure know how to do what is right for the country.

    June 30, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. MaryM

    Thank you President Obama for caring for ALL Americans. Unlike the republicans in congress that ONLY care for their RICH buddies that they want to give tax breaks to. To all Americans, READ the Ryan budget plan, that mitt supports, and see how much Mitt, Paul Ryan and all the repubs in Congress care about you.

    June 30, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. txvoter

    let's be real hear... the only reason Obama is doing this is because colorado is a swing state. the fires in colorado are nowhere near as bad as the ones in texas last year, and Obama didn't do a thing for texas. he didn't even declare it a disaster area and allow federal funds. some of the coments here just show how much of a sheep you people really are.

    June 30, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Rhonda

    When the President came to Colorado Springs yesterday, all the haters posted on blogs that he shouldn't be here, and it is only a "photo op". I was disgusted by their comments. While he was here, you could see the compassion on his face, and the concern in his voice. He cares about the American public no matter what the haters say. It is sad that this country is so divided. I for one was glad he came to my community to see just what these fires have done to such a beautiful city. My heart and prayers are for all the people who have lost everything. Thank God for the President and his humanity.

    June 30, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. trey

    I wish he would've visited texas last year when we had the wild fires. Even after we asked for a declaration of emergency to get funds freed up... oh wait, we're not a swing state and those of us that lost our homes (me included) are not worth his time.

    June 30, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Flipper

    There must be fundraisers that were quickly scheduled to attract Obama to Colorado, as well as promises of free rounds of golf.

    June 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Took him long enough. Did he forget that people in Colorodo vote too?"

    Get over yourself.

    "Republicans have voted to eliminate police, teachers and firefighters."

    Isn't that the truth. And yet here they come to the blogosphere, the first to complain and criticize against the very same folks they think taxpaying Americans shouldn't be responsible for paying the wages and benefits of - firefighters - at a time when said firefighters are out braving their very own lives to protect those - Republicans - who criticize them the most by wanting to take away the wages and benefits and livelihood of all firefighters ... in hopes of saving themselves a few tax dollars a year. It boggles the mind trying to figure out the mindset of these Republican "patriots". I gave up trying long ago.

    June 30, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. sueinga

    Thank you Mr President for caring we won't forget you come November. Obama / Biden 2012

    June 30, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Charlie in Maine

    I wish we could send them some water along with our thoughts and prayers.

    June 30, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. cd

    Dear Palladin S.F,maybe your liberal views have taken your eyes off the truth. Mr 0bama has cut aid for this state along with the US troops so there are not ENOUGH planes to take care of these fires but PLENTY on money for the INNER CITY to go to the CARRY OUT or WATCH TV on the large screen TV. You can also KILL a white USA border agent "TAX PAYERS" but DON'T touch of FL BOY!

    June 30, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. alphabatt1

    to: buy my product.......Can't see much through all the smoke, let alone to take the time to thank firefighters until thing settled down a bit. At least he was on the ground. Bush took way longer to get to the Katrina disaster....then did'nt allow his chopper to set down, even though an LZ had been cleared. Colorado will vote and Obama will win the state, largely for his support of the city and the firefighters, who happen to lack health insurance. Theocon Colo. Springs, all for smaller Gov., will certainly have their hands out for disaster aid.

    June 30, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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