Obama says biggest priority is restoring power in wake of storm

WASHINGTON Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:07pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) speaks in a neighborhood after he tours damage done by Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, New Jersey, October 31, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) speaks in a neighborhood after he tours damage done by Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, New Jersey, October 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday said one of the main concerns in the rebuilding effort in the aftermath of the superstorm Sandy is to restore electricity for millions in the Eastern United States.

"Our biggest priority right now is getting power turned back on," Obama said after surveying the storm damage. "We are here for you and we will not forget, we will follow up to make sure you get all the help you need until you rebuild."

He met with rescue workers and residents in Atlantic City, and toured the wreckage aboard presidential Marine One helicopter alongside Governor Chris Christie, a top surrogate for Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney.

While urging patience, he cautioned that problems from the storm would not be solved "overnight," and that the federal government will work with state and local officials closely in the clean-up efforts.

Obama has put campaign travel on hold this week due to focus on storm response.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; writing by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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