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. alphabatt1

    Can't see much until the smoke has cleared and some of the firefighter can take a break long enough to be thanked. At least he showed up. Bush was way later in viewing the Katrina disaster from the safety of his chopper. He decided not to land and thank rescuers in spite of the fact that an LZ had been cleared.
    Neo/Theocon Colo. Springs, crying to get smaller Gov. will gladly have their hands out for Gov. disaster assistance.

    June 30, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. zapper

    A true commander-in-chief.

    June 30, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    @ Judy Thanks – That IS part of his Job. That's why we need to go to most popular vote, vs. electoral college Vote. Back in the old days, say 60 or 70 years ago, The president would never find out about what is happening in other states, besides the closest states to DC. Can u imagine having a "katrina" in La, or a Fire in Colorado, where it's affecting so many people , and so many homes, and the whole state is suffering, during when our founding fathers, or even before WW 1 ) that where our president (or congress) didn't know about it, til the pony express came by & told them ? or say if the telegraph was burned out in colorado, how would the president of the u.s. ever find out, so he (or congress) would summon up the national guard to help them ? That's why we need to go to most popular vote, not electoral college.

    June 30, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Randy from Texas

    I'm glad that the he's taking an active interest in the disaster in Colorado, but I'm wondering when the President is going to get around to visiting Bastrop, where five times as many homes were destroyed as there were in Colorado Springs. I hope it isn't only because Colorado is a swing state and Texas is not, but I sure get the impression that it is about that.

    June 30, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    The president can address things and know about what is happening in the furthest states, ( such as Calif or Washington) In Real Time, not like in the old days. He can dole out resources to other states, in the states that need it the most, and address their problems, Issues & etc. Back in the old days, the President (or congress) can only address Issues or a problem a state had, when they heard about it, and by the time it got around to the decision makers to do something, it most likely was too late to address it, by the time the pony express or telegraph got there.Popular Vote – Not electoral college votes

    June 30, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. paul

    Bush would have done a "fly over" and said, "yep, there is a fire goin' down there and it looks like a dad-gum big one".
    Obama shows compassion and really cares about the american people by going to Colorado. Not sure what Romney would do but cutting budgets so we have less firefighters is probably not real popular right now.

    June 30, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    @vic , nashville ,tn "Simple Real leader , who care about us"

    Pretending to care in an election year is not really the same. Fortunately for politicians you are a simple voter.

    June 30, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Rick in Phx

    buy my product or else

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


    Maybe he should do like the republican guy that was President before him did when Katrina hit and just do a fly over.

    June 30, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Marla

    I hope that when Coloradans go to the polls this fall that they remember that Romney said that he wants to cut back on public employees, like firefighters, police and teachers. I think that the people in Colorado must realize that these people deserve all of the respect and every penny that we can possibly give them.

    June 30, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Tony in STL

    If he goes, they whine ...if he doesn't go ...they whine. Who cares what they think anymore?

    June 30, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Wazzup

    Great, they had to take firefighters away from their job to provide the photo op for Obama.

    June 30, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Henry

    "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)"

    Hey, Phyllis - if god loves his children so much, why did he torch some of their houses? Oh, and if he has the answer to all problems, maybe he can tell me who's going to win the next Super Bowl. I'm having a problem making a pick.

    June 30, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Rich

    Does Obama (and or Biden) have any idea of the law enforcement and fire personnel resources that must be pulled off the fire just for his visit? Do they have any idea of how many fire fighting aircraft could not land or take off during the time that POTUS is on the airfield? Do they have any idea of the costs to the locals for their visit? (The feds don't cover the local LEO and Fire expenses.)

    June 30, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Halls for Obama

    How long did it take you "buy my product or else" the road is not close to you, you can go and help fight the fire. That to much work for you right? You just need to complain about the President. Tell Mitt they vote in Colorado he may not know that.

    June 30, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. SafeJourney

    Thank you Mr President for your support for us here in Colorado. Dont see any republicans caring about if we live or die

    June 30, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Bob

    Remind me what alexithymic Mitt was saying about how he wants to fire more firemen. Does Mitt still want to say that to the people in Colorado?

    June 30, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Angel

    Well done Mr. President, well done.

    June 30, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. Are you kidding me?

    @buy ..... We know you have nothing to contest about what put president did or said but timing of the visit?!? Really?

    June 30, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney also would have said "let them bailout themselves, we don't need firefighters". Romney's job creation is let them burn.

    June 30, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Cammie68

    @buy my product or else...

    Well at least he didn't do just a Katrina "fly-over." Shrub rode his bike for two hours the day before the hurricane lands. On the day Katrina landed, Bush attended a birthday party for Arizona Sen. John McCain.

    The levees began to crack. While emergency 1.5-ton sandbags were ready to be placed to steady the levee and absorb water, there were insufficient numbers of helicopters and pilots to set them before the levees break. Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, pleaded for federal-level assistance and got none. Shrub then went to San Diego to play guitar with a country singer and end his vacation early - but not until the next day, because he had tickets to a San Diego Padres game.

    June 30, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. reaper081087

    The President is in Colorado Springs providing moral support to his people in times of crisis. He's doing the right thing. Romney is apparently avoiding the place probably fearing for his own safety. And this coward wants to be POTUS?

    Obama is MY president, MY leader, and he gets my vote and my respect!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!

    June 30, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  22. FedUp

    The good people of Colorado Springs started taking care of their own long before Mr. Obama stepped foot in our beautiful community. He only visits Denver, which votes Democrat,unless he needs a photo op.

    June 30, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. MikeInTarzana

    I have to bring up the contrast with bush and katrina.Obama shows up while main street is still burning, and publicly requested private support, including donations – the community organizer. He asked for americans to help other americans. Bush, on the other hand, did a fly by 3 weeks after the event.

    June 30, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Cynthia L.

    @Politcal Blogger. How does the government know how to put out the fires?? They aren't telling us, so why don't you tell us how they would do that. .....You can't.

    @buy my product Fema has been on the ground from the start of the Colorado fires. Our President has stayed in close contact with Colorado's govenor, as well as the govenor from Florida whose residents have suffered floods from Tropical Storm Debby....Stop bashing for the sake of bashing. It makes you look small.

    June 30, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. chiaji george

    we pray for the families affected by the fire. The president's effort to rally the nation is yet another mark of leadership in him.

    June 30, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
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