PRESIDENT Joe Biden was spotted pocketing a cheat sheet of local officials and their photos with scripted talking points as he toured Ida damage in Louisiana on Friday.
Once Biden landed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Friday,a cheat sheet featuring officials’ names and likenesses was bulging out of his back pants pocket.
SCRIPT AND CHEAT-SHEET
The president was greeted at the tarmac with a welcome party that included Democratic Gov. John Edwards and Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, the New York Post reported.
Among the listed names and images on the paper memory aid were New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng
Biden also had in his pocket a typed script of talking points.
He later was also greeted by Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
"This storm has been incredible, not only here but all over the East Coast," Biden said when he sat down in a roundtable meeting with officials.
"I know you've got to be frustrated about the restoration of power," he said, explaining that the federal government was tirelessly working to restore power with the state’s electric companies and by supplying generators.
He vowed Louisiana wouldn’t be forsaken.
“I promise we’re gonna have your back until this thing gets done,” he said.
“And so, I’m mainly here to listen to see what’s on your mind.”
The president shook hands, embraced and offered counsel to locals while surveying the widespread wreckage in LaPlace, Louisiana, a small community about 35 miles west of New Orleans.
It suffered from extreme flooding and storm damage.
BLAME TELEPHONE POLES
Biden also toured other Ida-ravaged communities, including Laffite, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Lafourche Parish, before connecting with local leaders in Galliano, Louisiana, the White House said.
In LaPlace, Biden saw firsthand fallen power lines, uprooted trees and homes that had been reduced to rubble.
“I walk through the backyards here – so many telephone lines are down, so many telephone poles are down, so many of the – of the way in which we transmit energy is lost because of the old wooden telephone pole,” Biden, alluding to his hope to upgrade the country’s grid by getting Congress to pass his infrastructure bills.
The 46th president toured Louisiana as major swaths of the state left 1 million people without power or and 600,000 without water following Hurricane Ida’s devastation which made landfall on Aug. 19 as a Category 4 storm.
He huddled with Gov. John Bel Edwards and various local officials as his presidency is being tested stateside, following the fallout from the Aug. 31 withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, where 13 US soldiers died in an ISIS terrorist blast.
Ida is now being touted as the fifth strongest hurricane to hit the country after it barreled through southern Louisiana and shredded man-made structures and caused more duress brought on by steamy heat conditions.
The hurricane socked the Gulf coast and then blazed north debilitating the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic states.
On Wednesday the storm’s bands of rain caused biblical flash flooding in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Ida claimed nine deaths in Louisiana, and at least 49 more have died in the Northeast.
According to utility Entergy Corp, the number of Louisiana homes and businesses still without power fell to around 823,000 on Friday as the company confirmed it had restored service to about 225,000 customers, according to Reuters.
EAST COAST CRIPPLED
As Biden was walking communities in Louisiana punished by the storm, the New York area was still soaked from the downpour Ida delivered.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Friday confirmed there are six people who remain missing.
"Were still not out of the woods," he told the Today Show, fearing the death toll would likely climb higher.
"We're going to clean up … but it may be a long road."
Gov. Edwards supplied Biden with a long list of vital needs that include a reserve of fuel shipments since the state’s refining capacity was knocked offline and mile-long lines have snaked around gas stations and emergency supply distribution centers.
Biden again pushed to pass his infrastructure bills during his visit suggesting there needs to be a mass investment in underground power lines to prevent a repeat of Hurricane Ida.
“We know if it's underground it will cost a hell of a lot more money. But guess what, it saves a hell of a lot more money long term,” he said.
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