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Obama Tours A Battered Oklahoma

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

President Obama visited hard-hit Moore, Oklahoma, today to see firsthand some of the damage done by last Monday's deadly tornado. He stopped by one of the elementary schools wiped out by the storm and met with rescue workers. In a moment, we'll hear more about how one community is coping in the aftermath of the storm. First, here's NPR's Scott Horsley who's traveling with the president.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: President Obama walked down what used to be a residential street in Moore. The few walls still standing are spattered with mud. Most of the homes on the block are reduced to rubble. Clean American flags fluttered atop some of the piles of debris. Outside the ruins of the Plaza Towers Elementary School where seven children died, the president greeted the principal and emergency workers who helped save the lives of many others.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: From the forecasters who issued the warnings, to the first responders who dug through the rubble to the teachers who shielded with their own bodies their students, Oklahomans have inspired us with their love and their courage.

HORSLEY: A twisted metal awning flapped in the wind as the president spoke. Some 1,200 homes here were destroyed by the tornado, 10 times that many were damaged. Obama promised the federal government will be here to help the people of Moore during the lengthy rebuilding process.

OBAMA: This is a strong community with strong character. There's no doubt they're going to bounce back. But they need help.

HORSLEY: The president's promised similar help many times before after tornadoes in the south, wildfires in the west and a hurricane in the northeast. Later this week, Obama visits New Jersey where beachfront businesses are reopening after Superstorm Sandy, a hopeful sign for Oklahoma residents just now coming to grips with their own loss. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Moore, Oklahoma. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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