President Obama: We are here for you

President Barack Obama is telling people recovering from Sandy’s devastation along New Jersey’s coastline that “we are here for you, and we will not forget.”

Obama accompanied Gov. Chris Christie on a tour of areas along New Jersey’s Shore Wednesday to see firsthand the damage of this week’s storm.

They took Marine One, the president’s helicopter, to survey the damage up and down the coast. After the trip, they traveled by motorcade to Brigantine where they stopped at a center housing those displaced by Sandy’s high winds and storm surge.

Christie outlined his priorities for the days ahead.

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“Make sure we get power restored as quickly as possible. Make sure we have clean drinking water. Make sure the wastewater-treatment plants are working. And get kids back to school,” the governor said.

The president told those in Brigantine that New Jersey and New York are the top priorities of the federal government.

“We are not going to tolerate red tape, we are not going to tolerate bureaucracy,” Obama said. “I’ve instituted essentially a 15-minute rule on my team: You return everybody’s call within 15 minutes. Whether it’s mayors, governors … if they need something, we figure out a way to say yes.”

The president said he will do whatever is necessary to get help to those who need it.

“It’s very important that you know that there’s help available to you, right now. For example, to find rental housing or to pay for some groceries,” Obama said. “Over at the community center, we saw a woman with … an 8-month-old, who needed diapers and formula. Those are some of the basic supplies and help that we can provide.”

Christie urged New Jersey residents hit hard by the storm not lose their resilience, to get through their sorrow and fight back through the tough times in order to rebuild.

The governor, a supporter of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, says he “can’t thank the president enough” for his concern and compassion during the storm. Christie praised Obama for his quick response, saying he was even working from the car between the airport and Brigantine to help facilitate assistance.

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