(CNN) – Meeting with Cabinet officials at the headquarters of FEMA before a long day of campaigning, President Barack Obama said his government was singularly focused on improving conditions for people still living without power and amenities after Superstorm Sandy devastated areas of the East Coast.
"There is nothing more important than us getting this right,” Obama said to a group of reporters. He was flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. Also present were the secretaries of defense, energy, HUD, health and human services, education and transportation.
The president listed a series of items still on the federal government’s punch list, including restoring power to parts of New York City and New Jersey. The president said crews from as far away as California were being deployed to help restore electricity as temperatures drop in the East. About 2.7 million customers remained without power Saturday across 15 states and the District of Columbia, and some may be in the dark for another week, according to utility officials.
President Obama delivered a statement from the Diplomatic Room of the White House Tuesday morning, warning residents of the Gulf Coast to "listen to your local officials and follow their directions" in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac to make landfall Tuesday evening. On Monday, the president signed a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana, ensuring that avenues of federal funding and support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were open.
"We’re dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area," the president said. "Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously."
Here are the president's full remarks: FULL POST