Obama tells voters to watch Republicans, but he's not

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:08pm EDT

1 of 3. U.S. President Barack Obama talks at a campaign event on the Monfort Quad at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, August 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Reuters) - The White House says President Barack Obama is not monitoring the Republican national convention this week.

But the president told several thousand mostly college-age voters on Wednesday that they should be watching the event to help them decide how to vote in the November elections.

"In November, your voice will matter more than ever. And listen, if you doubt that, pay a little attention to what's happening in Tampa this week," Obama said.

Campaigning in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Democratic president said his focus was on Hurricane Isaac as it hit the Gulf coast, and he wanted to "make sure we are doing every single thing that we need to do" to help those affected by the storm.

Obama, in several campaign stops this week and in a brief television address, has reminded voters that he is keeping an eye on the storm -- a not-so-subtle reference to criticism that his predecessor, George W. Bush, was slow to respond to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina when it hit the same area as Isaac seven years ago.

The president began his speech on Wednesday in Virginia by saying he had just discussed Hurricane Isaac by telephone with the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as some of the mayors and governors having to deal with the storm.

It was important, Obama said, to "let people on the coast know, our thoughts are with you, our prayers are with you."

Floodwater from Hurricane Isaac jumped a levee on the outskirts of New Orleans on Wednesday, but the multi-billion-dollar barriers built to protect the city itself after the 2005 Katrina disaster held firm, officials said.

Later Wednesday, on the online chat site Reddit, Obama also expressed concern about the hurricane. He said the federal government would be coordinating with state and local officials to "make sure that we give families everything they need to recover."

The lumbering cyclone, which weakened to a tropical storm, threatened to flood oil refineries and towns in Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi with a deluge of rain, storm surges and strong winds.

(Reporting By Susan Cornwell; Editing by Fred Barbash and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (26)
Chuck821 wrote:
Smart business for a candidate. Someone will brief him on the high points but it allows him to answer any “Romney or Ryan said ….” questions with “I didn’t see the speach.

Aug 30, 2012 5:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mec1 wrote:
He does not want his voters watching the republican convention. Most of them are pretty well brain washed/brain dead but those who are simply not politically attuned might find out that the Republicans are an inclusive lot who have a much more mature and reasonable and ethical world view than Mr. Obama’s collectivists.

Aug 30, 2012 6:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JH818 wrote:
@mec1: I think you’re the brain dead one. Why don’t you go fact check Paul Ryan’s RNC speech? A speech full of lies isn’t exactly indicative of a party that is more mature and/or reasonable. However, it does say quite a bit about their ethics and world views.

Aug 30, 2012 7:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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