The US president got close to the people in New Jersey hardest hit by the superstorm Sandy.
Barack Obama went to Brigantine near Atlantic City where the weather system bowled into America’s eastern seaboard.
He surveyed the damage with the state governor, normally an anti-Obama Republican, Chris Christie. Both men put aside their political differences for a while, and were full of praise for each other’s post-storm efforts.
New Jersey took the full force of Sandy when it hit.
After his tour Obama said: “Obviously our biggest priority right now is getting power turned back on. We were very pleased that Newark got power back yesterday, Jersey City we believe is getting power back today, but there are still big chunks of the community, including this community right here, that don’t have power. It’s hard enough cleaning up debris, dealing with boats that have been up-ended and roads that are blocked, (but) when people don’t have power obviously they’re disabled in all sorts of ways, and it’s hard to get back to normal.”
Six million people are still without electricity and officials warn that it could be up to ten days before everyone is switched back on.
Obama promised government aid would not be held up by red tape, and said he had instigated a so-called ’15-minute rule’ where federal officials would answer local calls for disaster relief within a quarter of an hour.