Obama promises to help Gulf Coast governors with Tropical Storm Isaac

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

President Barack Obama on Monday promised the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi that they would have "the resources they need" to cope with Tropical Storm Isaac, on track to batter the Gulf Coast in the coming days, the White House said in a statement.

Concerns about the storm led Republicans, gathered at their presidential nominating convention in Tampa, to hold only a short symbolic session.

Obama got a briefing with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Director Rick Knabb of the National Hurricane Center, which has predicted that Isaac could strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane later in the day.

In concert with the Defense Department, FEMA has created "Incident Support Bases" with critical supplies in Jacksonville, Fla., and Montgomery, Ala.; they've also deployed personnel to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi "to work to make sure there are no unmet needs."

"The president directed Administrator Fugate to ensure that FEMA was prepared regardless of the ultimate strength and impact of the storm," the White House said.

After that briefing, Obama hosted a conference call with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

"The president made clear that he has directed Administrator Fugate to make sure the governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each governor to identify additional needs if they arise," the White House said.

Obama also said he had approved Jindal's request for a presidential emergency declaration—a step that frees up additional federal resources to deal with the storm.