Image: Barack Obama
Pablo Martinez Monsivais  /  AP
President Barack Obama, center, meets with local residents during his tour of the Bridgewood neighborhood in LaPlace, La., in Saint John the Baptist Parish, as he tours the area to survey the ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
NBC News
updated 9/4/2012 1:06:13 PM ET 2012-09-04T17:06:13

NEW ORLEANS, La. – At the end of a four-day trip filled with campaign events, President Barack Obama put politics aside to visit a Louisiana town hit by Hurricane Isaac and talk with local officials about the recovery effort.

In brief remarks after touring part of the town of LaPlace in St. John the Baptist Parish, the president said he was impressed by the resiliency of the residents.

“There is enormous faith here, enormous strength here you can see it in these families,” he said. “They were just devastated a few days ago and they're already smiling and laughing,” he said.

Local reports say St. John the Baptist Parish experienced up to 18 inches of floodwater from the hurricane, an unprecedented level of flooding for the parish, according to an administration official.

Before his tour of the neighborhood, the president was briefed by local parish officials about the situation in the area and noted that the biggest concern was helping those who had been displaced.

“Obviously, right now we’re still in recovery mode,” he said.

Obama was accompanied by Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who met him at the airport alongside a bipartisan group that included New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, Reps. Cedric Richmond and Jeff Landry and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate.

Thanking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Obama subtly referred to the recovery efforts to mitigate the damage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 under former President George W. Bush, which were widely viewed as a failure.

“In the past we sometimes haven’t seen the kind of coordination needed for these kinds of disasters,” Obama said.

But he also emphasized that this type of natural disaster transcends political labels.

“When disasters like this happen we set aside whatever petty disagreements we might have,” Obama said. “Nobody’s a Democrat or a Republican.”

The president returns to Washington, D.C. on Monday evening. He heads Tuesday to Norfolk, Va. for a campaign event.

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Video: How will Afghan War affect how Virginia votes?

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    >>> who lived till 93, we lost her a couple years ago, she was at the last convention with me. i can't picture -- my mom was a smart woman, but my mom, i can't picture handing her a voucher at age 80 and saying you go out in the insurance market and you figure out what's best for you. ladies and gentlemen , it's just that simple. we are for medicare. they are for voucher care. it's basic.

    >> welcome back. it's 25 past the hour. here with us now former democratic governor and former chairman of the democratic national convention tim kaine , who is now running for a u.s. senate seat in virginia . speaking tonight?

    >> i am indeed. zeks sig

    >> excited?

    >> i am very excited.

    >> mark halpern is with us. you have new information on what the first lady might be saying.

    >> a little preview from her speech. the big theme they want to drive is the middle class . michelle obama by her own upbringing is going to talk about the importance of the middle class and her husband fighting for the middle class . she's going to testify to his strength and the way he's dealt with adversity in a way only she can. and she's going to talk about an issue she's worked on a lot, military families. those are three things are things she can uniquely do and she's got the confidence of having done this once before, unlike ann romney , who did a good job in her maiden appearance, michelle obama will be able to come back and do a good job.

    >> tim kaine , the middle class are hurting and frustrated. the poll shows the president has his work cut out for him.

    >> i think the president and his team can do it. what i'm talking about tonight is results. we're not where we want to be at as a nation but --

    >> but that's a tough sell, isn't it?

    >> i look at this maybe like a virginians , we're at the n the middle of two wars, and the last credible intelligent for bin laden is eight years old. virginia is the most military state in the country between active guard reserve , military veterans . one in nine virginians is a vet. this is a state that appreciates a tough commander in chief.

    >> it comes down to the economy, it comes down to people's wallets.

    >> virginia has seen some significant benefit from some of the president's policies. are we still in need of more acceleration in the economy? absolutely. we got to grow the economy, fix the budget. we have to find common ground. but if you just look at the economic stats and your guest in the segments stock market plummeting to the 7s and 6s, losing jobs in the hundreds of thousands, gdp shrinking, now it's growing back.

    >> i think pride morning right after the big speeches, we'll be getting a new jobs report.

    >> it will put a shed on the entire convention. one way or another. i'm wondering why you're here, why you're speaking lon. you're running a really tough race, one of the closest in virginia . and yet not only are you come hearing and embracing the president, embrace being the national party , you're speaking tonight.

    >> yup. i'm here because first i am who i am and i'm not changing it. i'm a supporter of this president and i want him to get re-elected. i've got a great virginia delegation here i'm going to be spending time with. i was the dnc chair that picked charleston to host this election. we can't ignore the south. when there was a choice about a convention city i thought charlotte's got a lot to offer, we'll come and --

    >> he knows how to play a crowd, doesn't he?

    >> i've been in a lot of bars.

    >> so, mike, it is difficult for some democrats like claire mccaskell to come here because there's a disconnect between let's say swing voters in missouri and the national democratic party . virginia is going to be such a tough place for democrats this year but if -- don't you start to feel like in mitt romney can't win north carolina and virginia , he's not going to win this election?

    >> instinct tells me he's got a better shot in north carolina than he does in virginia but that's a stunning number that you just recited. one in nine in your state members of the military, former members of the military. we're here in the state with camp lejeune and do you have an explanation or a theory as to why there is almost an unconscionable absence of speaking about the war in afghanistan from both candidates?

    >> you're going to hear about it from the president. he was down in talking not only the anniversary of the year in iraq and people make commitments all the time butch each said we'd get out of iraq and we did. he said we in virginia looking at it through our eyes, the president won virginia in 2008 when he was a neophyte running against a bona fide american war hero. this a battle tested president who made very difficult decisions. he's made tough decisions here and virginians respect him.

    >> are you confronted at all by voters as you make your rounds in the state with the feeling that some people express , a lot of people express , the weight of this war, being carried by almost when you're in the middle of two wars your guardsmen and women are getting redeployed repeatedly. i wasn't to the deployments, i went to the funerals, i went to afghanistan to see our guards men and women there. the military families with the relief that these repeated deployments is coming to an end. i know time between deployments is decreasing. at quantico they're not being given to start tomorrow. they're being told your active.

    >> first of all, i love the way you talk about the staff. sequestration, the cuts that are likely to come at the end of the year if we don't have a deal, virginia would be one of the top three states affected by this.

    >> sure would.

    >> how are you addressing this in virginia and how can democrats learn from you around the country?

    >> i don't know if i have anything to teach but i'm addressing it by reminding people how we got here. we got here because we started a whole series of policies that ran up the deficit. we put the wars on the credit card , we put the walks there's two working stat jis on how to balance the budget. one is pledge allegiance to grover norquist . that's one strategy. that's the other guy's, my opponents and the romney/ryan strategy. the second one is, snop, i we have if you can let the bush tax cuts expire at the top end , you have revenue that will then soften the need for any of these --

    >> we've got to go to break. but will t he believes he needed to do that.

    >> what do you think though?

    >> i think the big game going forward is we have to make sure the porous afghan/pakistan border is --

    >> did you agree with the president?

    >> i did not have any objection to that.

    >> does that mean you agree he tripled the number of troops in afghanistan .

    >> i'm not a military man.

    >> is that a yes? you're good. i need a yes.

    >> i thought it was important to do.

    >> you can't put that in a 30-second ad, can you?

    >> but the draw down was very important.

    >> for the life of me i can't figure why he tripled the number of troops in afghanistan . if you're a general, your job is to get as many troops for your theater as possible and to accomplish your mission . i have great respect for the general to ask for those troops but if you're commander in chief, you have more of a responsibility than to the general.

    >> within a few weeks of the president coming into office, the taliban were 50 miles away from the nuclear materials in pakistan. part of the reason was to make the border less porous so we not ris ak power grab of the nuclear weapons . that was part of why he needed to do it. now we need to draw down and we are.

    >> still ahead, former secretary of state madeleine albright joins us right here on the set. she's right here on " morning joe ." hey, bro. or engaging. conversations help us learn and grow. at wells fargo , we believe you can never underestimate the power of a conversation. it's this exchange of ideas that helps you move ahead with confidence. so when the conversation turns to your financial goals... turn to us. if you need anything else, let me know . [ female announcer ] wells fargo . together we'll go far.

    >>> welcome back to " morning joe ." meteorologist bill karins. quick weather update and we'll return back to charlotte for our continuing coverage of the


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