Obama vows not to forget storm victims rebuilding

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm •  Published: November 15, 2012
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One girl collecting supplies who said her house is unlivable said: "We need help. He should have been here a long time ago." That sentiment was shared by others, including Anthony Gatti, who said his home near the ocean was wrecked by Sandy.

"I think he should've been here a few days ago to see how much devastation we've had here," said Gatti, who was hoping to get a FEMA trailer to live in with his parents while they find a new home. They lost everything they owned in the storm, he said.

Gatti said he has been standing in line all day, every day, waiting to speak with FEMA officials.

"If he could do something to make this process with the government a little faster and easier on us, that would be a great thing," he said of Obama.

Obama was joined on the tour by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats, flew up with the president.

Cuomo said this week that he would request $30 billion in federal aid to rebuild.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said he couldn't comment on the request because the administration hadn't seen the details. He said the government will continue to do everything possible to cut red tape and help affected communities.

Blocks away from the president's tour, Lily Wu, a 37-year-old mother of three, was cleaning dishes salvaged from the flooded, first floor of the home she bought three years ago. Wu, who is living in a friend's basement with her family, said she hopes Obama might give storm victims a tax break to help them out. She said she doesn't know if she'll get any money from FEMA or her insurance company.

"If they could bail out the banks, they should bail us out, right?" Wu said. "I mean, all of us paid more than half a million dollars for these homes. They're going to be worthless after this."

Obama traveled to New Jersey on Oct. 31 to meet with Gov. Chris Christie and view recovery efforts in battered coastal communities. He saw flattened houses, flooded neighborhoods, sand-strewn streets and a fire burning along the coastline.

The White House said the president didn't visit New York at the time so as not to interfere with recovery efforts.

Vice President Joe Biden's office said he will travel to New Jersey on Sunday to view storm damage.

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Associated Press writer Nedra Pickler in Washington and Meghan Barr in New York contributed to this report.

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Reach Matthew Daly on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC

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