NEW YORK — In the midst of a political tempest that has engulfed his former CIA director and his top military commander in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama traveled Thursday to New York City to view recovery efforts from the massive East Coast storm Sandy.
Obama was meeting with affected families, local officials and first responders who have been dealing with the deadly storm, which slammed into New York, New Jersey and other East Coast states late last month, killing more than 100 people and leaving millions without power.
Obama planned to begin his visit with an aerial tour of the damage to Far Rockaway, including the Breezy Point neighborhood, and Staten Island.
"The storm passes and sometimes attention turns elsewhere," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One. "But the fact is there's a lot of work that still needs to be done."
Obama was to be joined on the tour by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. Obama also will visit a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center and take a walking tour of a neighborhood affected by the storm. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats, traveled with the president aboard Air Force One.
Obama traveled to New Jersey on Oct. 31 to meet with Gov. Chris Christie and view recovery efforts in coastal communities. The president viewed flattened houses, flooded neighborhoods, sand-strewn streets and a still-burning fire along the state's battered coastline. Parts of the New Jersey shore's famed boardwalks were missing.
Obama pledged to those affected by the storm that "we are here for you and we will not forget."
Obama also traveled to Louisiana in early September after the Gulf Coast was hit by Hurricane Isaac.
Thousands of people in the New York region remain without power 2½ weeks after Sandy hit, including customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties, just east of New York City, and in parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
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