Obama Puts Focus on Disaster Relief in Okla. and N.J.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 27 2013 10:10 AM

Obama Gets Away From Washington Controversies by Putting Focus on Disaster Relief

169522733
President Barack Obama speaks following a tour of tornado-ravaged areas of Moore, Oklahoma

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

First Oklahoma, then New Jersey. President Obama’s Memorial Day weekend is being marked by highlighting the government’s response to natural disasters in a move that his allies hope will help the White House shift attention away from recent controversies that have dominated the news in recent weeks. With Congress out for the week, it’s a good time to get out of Washington.On Sunday, Obama traveled to Moore, Oklahoma and vowed federal help to rebuild after a huge tornado destroyed blocks of homes, two schools and a hospital in the Oklahoma City suburb, reports Reuters. "Obviously the damage here is pretty hard to comprehend," Obama said.

On Tuesday, Obama will once again hit the theme, but on a more hopeful note as he will take a post-Hurricane Sandy tour of the New Jersey coast line. With New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie by his side, Obama will seek to portray the message that good things can happen when government officials put aside their partisan differences to work on a common goal. New Jersey has launched a $25 million marketing campaign to promote that the Jersey Shore is back in business. Obama’s visit will help amplify that message.

For the president, the trip helps him get away from the scandals that have been engulfing his administration involving the IRS, the Justice Department’s review of phone records, and the response to the Benghazi attack. By focusing on disaster relief, the president gets an opportunity “to demonstrate the work of another part of government that provides a foil for the IRS: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose response to disasters has been met with bipartisan praise,” points out the Associated Press. Criticized for its response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the agency is widely believed to have turned around in recent years. 

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.