Obama Will Mobilize Email List to Help with Gustav’s Aftermath

By Arnab Datta

Aug 31, 2008 1:59pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Senator Obama told reporters today in Lima, OH that he plans to mobilize his network of volunteers and donors to help with Hurricane Gustav’s aftermath.

Obama said that they’ll wait over the next 48 hours to see what resources are most needed, “It becomes a question of what people on the ground need and once we determine that then we can activate our email list of a couple of million people who want to give back.”

Senator McCain and Sarah Palin are visiting a hurricane response center in Jackson Mississippi to learn about preparations. Senator Obama told reporters that at this time he has no plans to visit the region because of the resources that would be taken away from the hurricane in providing for a visit.

“The thing that I am always concerned about is in the middle of the storm is whether we are drawing resources away from folks on the ground, because the secret service and various security requirements sometimes it pulls police and fire and other departments away from concentrating on the job.”

Obama said that it is “fine” for McCain to want to find out what is going on in the region, “I am assuming that where he went that wasn’t an issue and we are going to try to stay clear of the area until things have settled down and then we will probably try to figure out how we can be as helpful as possible.”

Senator Obama has been speaking to officials in the area over the phone – getting briefings about the situation.   He spoke with Louisiana Lieutenant Gov. Mitch Landrieu and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff this morning, after a stop in Lima, Ohio for church.

The Illinois Senator also went on the air – calling in my phone to local TV stations to urge citizens to follow the instructions of their local officials and to evacuate.

Senator Obama and Biden campaign together in Ohio today.

Before he introduced Obama at an event in Toledo, his running mate Sen. Joe Biden, spared a thought for everyone in Gustav’s path.

"It’s a magnificent day today," Biden said on the sunny August afternoon. "But a lot of our friends down in New Orleans, where my daughter went to school, are battened down for something that may be even more devastating than what happened in Katrina. Pray God it won’t."

Biden noted that he said a prayer for these people when he attended Sunday mass at St Brendan’s the Navigator in Hilliard, Ohio and he urged the audience to do the same.

"Say a little prayer because these folks have been through, you know, they’ve been through hell," said the Delaware lawmaker. "And pray God this Gustav decides to take a turn or something but it doesn’t look real good now. I just want to, I just want to reference that because I’m sure the folks in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and Mississippi and Louisiana are on everyone’s minds this morning."

ABC News’ Matt Jaffe contributed to this report.

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