Obama: No "red tape" in federal storm response

Sat Nov 3, 2012 10:16am EDT

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WASHINGTON Nov 3 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told emergency response officials on Saturday to cut through government "red tape" and work without delay to assist areas ravaged by monster storm Sandy to return to normal.

"There's nothing more important than getting this right," the president said at the beginning of a briefing with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and state and local governments.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were among elected officials participating in the video briefing on efforts to help the East Coast states reeling from Monday's storm that left 102 dead, millions without power, and whole neighborhoods destroyed by flooding.

Obama said people working on rescue and relief efforts are making a "120 percent" effort, but urged those providing disaster relief to work without delay.

"We don't have patience for bureaucracy. We don't have patience for red tape," the president said in remarks three days ahead of his election showdown with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Relief efforts are focusing on restoring power and pumping water out of flooded areas, Obama said. Efforts are also concentrated on meeting the needs of people affected by the storm, removing debris, and positioning National Guard in areas where they can be helpful, he added.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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