(CNN) – President Barack Obama recognized the massive destruction wreaked by Superstorm Sandy this past week in his weekly address on Saturday – his last weekly address before Election Day – and said he was inspired by stories of first responders.
“Today, I ask everyone to keep them in your prayers,” he said, speaking of the victims. “And as President, I promise them this: your country will be there for you for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild.”
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The superstorm’s death toll in the United States surpassed 100 late Friday, including 22 in New Jersey and 48 in New York, the U.S. states hit hardest by the storm.
One storm modeling firm has estimated the damage at between $30 billion and $50 billion, and nearly $18 million in federal disaster assistance has been distributed so far.
Obama stressed in his address his involvement in the federal response.
“From the earliest hours, I ordered that resources be made available to states in the path of the storm as soon as they needed them,” Obama said. “And I instructed my team not to let red tape and bureaucracy get in the way of solving problems, especially when it came to making sure local utilities could restore power as quickly as possible.”
On Saturday morning, the president will hold a meeting on relief efforts with state and local officials, a White House official said Friday. In addition to the Homeland Security secretary and Federal Emergency and Management Agency administrator, the governors of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York will participate either in person or by phone.
He visited New Jersey earlier in the week and toured the damage with Gov. Chris Christie.
In his address, the president recognized the efforts of first responders, from New York south to North Carolina, “who repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way to bravely save the lives of others.”
Obama urged those seeking to aid in the recovery efforts to contact the Red Cross.
Obama’s rival in the presidential race, GOP nominee Mitt Romney, was to deliver his party’s address, Romney spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters on Friday. That address was not immediately available early Saturday morning.
- CNN White House Producer Lesa Jansen contributed to this report
Dear Ancient Texan! You can't just magically make things happen. They are working at fever's pitch to get power to people and get supplies to them.. It's very dangerous out there with powerlines down... FEMA had moved assets into position even before the storm hit, but everyone needs to have some patience... It sure is a million times better than the Katrina response... don't you think?
Thank you president Obama. I believe you truly care for the average person. I voted for you before and you have my vote again.
Thank you President Obama you care about the average person.
Sigh... some people are just shameless, aren't they?
Photo op? Again with this stuff? I'm sorry but let's suppose that he had not met with Christie and they, together, had not met those who were affected, saw how they were affected and all that?
What would have been your rant then Dar, Rick and AT?
Ancient Texan--Then why don't you go help them?
It's unbelievable what willard did to show how genuinely he cares for Snady's victims. He sent his aids to Walmart to buy $5,000 in granola bars and canned goods and then he handed those items out to idiots at his rally to make it look like he was contributing to the resuce effort. Then he told possibly the most disingenuous story ever spoken by someone running for president. He recalled to the brain dead crowd how he helped pick up trash in a football stadium after a game. This idiot wouldn't know a beating heart of compassion if it was hanging on a wooden cross in Jesus' chest trying to forgive the world of all of mankind's transgressions. What a loser beyong belief.
It’s unbelievable what Willard did to show how genuinely he cares for Sandy’s victims. He sent his aids to Wal-Mart to buy $5,000 in granola bars and canned goods and then he handed those items out to idiots at his rally to make it look like he was contributing to the rescue effort. Then he told possibly the most disingenuous story ever spoken by someone running for president. He recalled to the brain dead crowd how he helped pick up trash in a football stadium after a game. This idiot wouldn't know a beating heart of compassion if it was hanging on a wooden cross in Jesus' chest trying to forgive the world of all of mankind's transgressions. What a loser beyond belief.