President Obama is visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in Washington, ahead of his visit to New Jersey this afternoon to tour the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The president is meeting with agency officials and several cabinet secretaries to thank them for their hard work. “You all deserve a pat on the back,” Obama said, according to pool reports, as he sat around a large conference table flanked by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Obama has cancelled his campaign events for a third day in the row to tend to the storm and recovery efforts. This afternoon, he will travel to Atlantic City, N.J., where he will view the damage with Gov. Chris Christie who, despite being a high-profile surrogate for GOP nominee Mitt Romney, has praised the president’s handling of the storm.
Today marks Obama’s second visit to FEMA headquarters this week. On Sunday, he was briefed on preparations by the FEMA team ahead of the storm.
The president was joined at today’s briefing at FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security John Brennan, and other senior members of his team. Vice President Joe Biden joined the briefing by video-teleconference.