Obama to visit Joplin on Sunday

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 11:28 a.m. CDT; updated 2:17 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LONDON — President Barack Obama said he will travel to Missouri on Sunday to meet with people affected by the devastating tornadoes there.

The president said Tuesday he wants Midwesterners whose lives were upended by the deadly storms this past weekend to know that the federal government will use all the resources at its disposal to help them recover and rebuild.

Obama is in the midst of a six-day Europe trip, but the White House wants to make clear he's staying on top of the tragedy at home, where more than 100 people were killed in Joplin when a monster twister hit Sunday. A hospital and countless homes and businesses were destroyed, and more storms, possibly strong ones, are on the horizon.

"I want everybody in Joplin, everybody in Missouri, everybody in Minnesota, everybody across the Midwest to know that we are here for you," the president said in London on day two of his four-country tour.

"The American people are by your side. We're going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet."

The president phoned Gov. Jay Nixon again Tuesday to get an update on the destruction in the state and spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate, the White House said.

Obama is due back in Washington on Saturday night and will head to Missouri the next day.


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Richard Saunders May 24, 2011 | 12:31 p.m.

Haven't those poor people suffered enough without adding a presidential visit? Not to mention that all of the police have far more important tasks at hand than playing motorcade escort.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 24, 2011 | 12:53 p.m.

You're right. He should ignore them. You know Bush would have.

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John Schultz May 24, 2011 | 12:56 p.m.

Paul, it's not an Obama or Bush thing. It's a photo op for any President to make it look like he's "doing something" and "cares about us." If Obama or Bush want to show up and schlep supplies with the Red Cross for a couple hours and no media, then I'll think more of their efforts.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger May 24, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.

One of the tasks of a president, be he/she a Democrat or a Republican, is to bear witness to these events. Yes, the visits can be regarded as political opportunism as well as a hassle, but they serve as official recognition of the disaster (or comparable event).

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 24, 2011 | 1:24 p.m.

I maintain that if the president showed up and worked for eighteen hours with the red cross someone would say that he should have been running the country and someone else would have called him insincere and questioned his motives. If he had stayed in Europe they would have said that he shouldn't be vacationing while people suffered. Someone will pick at any perceived opportunity to criticize the president. I imagine that if I were in office I would, at some point want to physically see some of that which I was overseeing.

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Richard Saunders May 24, 2011 | 3:42 p.m.

Paul, you might notice that I used a lower case "p" on the word "presidential" in an effort to infer it was not related to a specific person.

Any visit by any president requires a major effort to insure security. All I said was that the people there, being overwhelmed with destruction, have enough stress on their hands already. A presidential visit would only compound it, and could even unnecessarily cost more lives.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 24, 2011 | 4:43 p.m.

Your point has some merit. However, Sunday is a week after the fact. If not then, when?

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