Obama visits Oso families
Update 5:45 p.m. President Barack Obama told a gathering at the Oso fire station that the entire nation shared its pain. He said that "the country is thinking about all of you and have been throughout this tragedy. We're not going anywhere."
At the Oso Community Chapel earlier, Obama visited for about an hour and 15 minutes with families who lost loved ones in the Oso mudslide. A packed crowd waited for the president in the nearby Oso fire station, where he arrived about 3:30 p.m.
The president landed at Paine Field in Everett at 12:48 p.m. and then boarded a helicopter to take him to visit recovery workers and families affected by the Oso mudslide catastrophe. A pool reporter traveling with the president said the chopper touched down at the site of slide just after 1:30 p.m. as bright yellow excavating machines continued their work. After a stop, the president headed toward the Oso fire station.
On the helicopter, Obama was accompanied by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Rep. Suzan DelBene and Gov. Jay Inslee, according to Crosscut's John Stang. Aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that president is coming "to view first-hand the aftermath of the terrible tragedy” and “meet directly with those who have lost loved ones.” After spending the afternoon there, Obama will take off from Paine Field around 5:30 p.m. for a flight to Tokyo, the first of four stops visiting with Asian leaders.
Oso Fire District 25 Chief Willie Harper called the timing of the president's visit "absolutely perfect," telling Northwest Cable News that it won't create problems for the recovery effort now but would have been a huge disruption earlier.
At Paine Field, President Obama talks with, left to right, U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Sen. Maria Cantwell and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. On the right are Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and Gov. Jay Inslee. Photo by John Stang
President Obama prepares to board a helicopter at Paine Field. John Stang
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