President monitors Hurricane Irene preparations from his Martha's Vineyard vacation
The calm before the storm? The harbor at Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard in the path of Hurricane Irene.
August 25th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

President monitors Hurricane Irene preparations from his Martha's Vineyard vacation

(CNN) Martha's Vineyard, MA–President Obama held a conference call Thursday morning with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House chief of staff Bill Daley about the current track of Hurricane Irene, its potential impact and the government's preparations according to White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said his agency is deploying teams from the Carolinas to Maine along the east coast of the United States.

"[O]ur briefing to the president was to update him on that status. And his direction back to us was to make sure we had what we need, keep him up to speed and he wants to make sure you know that we are stay in close contact with the governors and the metropolitan areas that are along the path of this storm," said Fugate.

The White House spokesman said they have no plans "at this point" for changes in the president's schedule for his vacation on Martha's Vineyard due to Hurricane Irene. "The President of the United States is responsible for fulfilling his responsibilities as the President of the United States regardless of where he is and regardless of where he goes," said spokesman Josh Earnest. "I think as the briefing call that he did with Administrator Fugate and Secretary Napolitano and others this morning demonstrates...the president is fulfilling those responsibilities and is committed to ensuring that everything that needs to be done from the federal government to prepare for this is being done," said Earnest.

FEMA administrator Fugate said the federal government's focus is providing support to state and local officials who are preparing for the storm and moving supplies into place to prepare for the first 72 hours after the storms hits. Fugate said large generators capable of restoring emergency power to hospitals and water treatment facilities as well as supplies of bottled water, infant supplies and tarps are being moved into place along the east cost from the Carolinas to Maine. Fugate said FEMA has designated three hubs for staging key supplies. These are military bases in Ft. Bragg, NC, Westover, MA and Ft. McGuire, NJ. Fugate stressed that in the wake of hurricane Katrina, the federal government wants to prepare for the target areas immediate needs and aftermath. "You don't wait till you get hit to find out what you need," he said on a conference call Thursday with reporters.

The FEMA administrator was also asked about the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial set for Sunday in Washington, DC which is also in the path of the hurricane. Fugate said his agency has been talking with the National Park Service but no decisions have been made until the storm gets closer and the forecast for the impact on Washington is more accurate. President Obama is scheduled to speak at the memorial dedication. White House spokesman Earnest said there are no changes to announce yet in the president's Sunday schedule for Sunday either and that the president would likely speak about how Dr. King's legacy inspired his decision to enter public life.

The FEMA director also expressed his concern for reporters on Thursday's conference call noting that Washington, DC was indeed in the path of the hurricane. Fugate asked if reporters covering the president on Martha's Vineyard were planning to cut their trip short to return to DC to prepare for the storm. He was reporters would remain on Martha's Vineyard as long as the president stays.

Topics: FEMA • Hurricane Irene • President Obama • The Family • The News

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Sitting in a cool lounge in Martha's vineyard and enjoying the richest cool-aid with chef's in every beacon call. While enjoying the cool breeze and thinking about ME, ME and ME Obama "Hope and Change" savior since 2008 and the ??? of 2012. O what a day and site it is. A cool thing to do.

    August 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • egm11

      it would not surprise me one minute if our lord and saviour barack obama would sit on "the vineyard" while irene blew by. he is just arrogant enough to think all would go just dandy. obama is just that stupid. put himself and family in jeapordy. they dont have many hurricanes in downtown chicago. sit tight barack, sheet happens.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    The weather may put a major damper on his vacation.

    Too bad. Maybe he will have to batten down the hatches, or fly out of there.

    August 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  3. Pete

    Obama has been on vacation since he got elected
    Spending our money like a drucken sailor

    August 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • jean2009

      What money? Don't you remember Bush had wasted it all before he got there!

      August 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
      • Chris

        Here's the money he got 4,000,000,000,000.00 BIG-TRILLION in debt increase since he became president. Nnot sure of the zeros because I don't even have thousands.

        August 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        Ah, yes, the Liberal claim that there was a surplus when Clinton left office. The fact is the country was in debt $ 5,727,776,738,304.64.

        Next Liberals will try and claim that it is all because of 'unfunded wars' and 'tax breaks for the rich.' Well is the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya funded? If President Bush was a fool for not funding the effort, what does that make the current president? And did not Barry extend the tax cuts for two years? Oh that's right, he is just cleaning up the mess, he is not responsible for any spending.

        This is getting old. Until Liberals are willing to take responsibility the country will continue to fail. Take for example jobs going over seas. Liberals demand that businesses pay for American workers heath care. Yet do not require the same of co. that import goods in the US. What hypocrites. Take responsibility, admit that you have priced the American worker out of the market.

        August 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ Jay ...Here is the link to't take it from me look at what the conservative Annenberg Foundation says.

        August 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
      • jean2009

        Chris the federal government has the debt....and pretty much it is to help undo the mess George W. Bush left.

        August 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Russell Brown

      pete I have follow your comments
      I will be praying that in the name of JESUS he take hate and bitterness out of your
      our father which art in heaven hollowed be thy name
      thy kingdom come thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
      give us this day our daily bread
      and forgive us our debts
      as we forgive our debtors
      and lead us not into temptation
      but deliver us from evil
      for thine is the kingdom and the power
      and the glory forever amen .

      August 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • drogo, the stallion that mounts the world

        Would it be too much to ask to keep your religious beliefs to yourself?

        August 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
      • jean2009

        @drago this is an open comment board if you don't like it go somewhere else. I am not exactly religious, but Russell has just as much right as you, me, or anyone else. to say what he wants.

        August 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Deborah

      Obama has not been able to fix the economy or unemployment with the republicans doing everything possible to sabotage any progress even with Americans suffering. Small minds for small government.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  4. drogo, the stallion that mounts the world

    Think he'll stick around from his ring-side seat?

    August 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  5. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Yes drogo! I believe you are asking too much of RUSSELL to keep his religious opinions to himself. Those are his opinions and to be honest, mine too! The BIBLE that we read, study and believe in tells us 'not MY will but THINE'; it tells us 'speaking the word ONLY, in season and out'. Jean is right! I also believe one of the main reasons our nation, AMERICA, the one that claims to be a Christian-based nation is disintergrating due to it's shameful practice of keeping GODS' word to ones self. Hypocritical!

    August 27, 2011 at 4:29 am |
  6. Dee

    To call the President of the United States stupid is a disgrace and stupid he is saving your butt from terroist and nuclear attacks each and every day. He is never on vacation no matter what location he is in no matter whether you approve of him or not.

    We all need to think about religion because the Lord is trying to tell us something with all the bigotry, hatred and internal fighting in Washington and the world. He is sending us a sign through earthquakes, wars, fires and hurricanes in some unusual places. We all need to get our lives in order he is reminding us in so many ways that he is in control and that noone is infallible. There are some on this blog that I have been following for some time that are spewing a lot of hatred as people in this country are hurting. For all the Obama haters, GOP Governers, Tea Party People. and GOP candidates who will be affected by hurricane Irene you say the government is an intrusion in our lives, now I want to see how many will be lined up for Emergency Fema money, you certaintly want need the help of the government we will be watching.

    So americans we need to try to start treating people with respect and for the betterment of this country.

    August 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Right Dee! However, these infidels think they're GOD! They aren't paying the least bit attention to the warnings. More like how they treated NOAH, when he told them that a flood was coming. They dismissed and denounced him as just an insane, drunken fool! Oh, but weren't they sorry later? The same way they did MOSES and JOHN THE BAPTIST! All I can say is 'GONE GOD'! YOU ARE STILL IN CONTROL AND I THANK YOU FOR YOUR WARNINGS AND PROTECTIONS!!

    September 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm |