(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — On a day when the Democratic ticket held no campaign events due to Hurricane Sandy, Vice President Joe Biden lauded the storm relief efforts across the country and said it’s going to take a “Herculean effort” to deal with flooding and restore electricity to areas that lost power.
“The key is, as cold as it’s here, it’s cold as hell some of these places where people don’t have any energy, don’t have any electricity, and it’s going to take a Herculean effort,” Biden told reporters on the tarmac before taking off for Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday afternoon.
Biden, who spent the morning via teleconference on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) briefing and a call to governors with President Obama, praised the work of FEMA, saying the agency has done “one hell of a job,” and touted the bipartisan work of officials across the country.
“I think FEMA’s doing an incredible job,” the vice president said. “It has pre-positioned resources. The governors are all cooperating with one another. The mayors are cooperating. I’ve never in all my experience seen as much cooperation and acknowledgement of that cooperation from city, state and federal levels, so it’s working like it’s supposed to and I’m really proud of our team.”
“I’m also proud of the way the governors have all stepped up with the mayors. Hearing the mayor of Philadelphia and the governor of Pennsylvania, two different parties, talking about the cooperation. Gov. [Chris] Christie [of New Jersey] talking about the cooperation as with the mayor of Newark,” Biden said.
Obama cancelled all of his campaign event appearances Monday through Wednesday to monitor and respond to the storm in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve never seen a guy so focused,” Biden said of the president. “The last conversation we had he said to the governors — he said, ‘Look folks, I’m up late at night. If you don’t get immediate response from my folks, call me, here’s my number.’ So this is a hands-on deal right now to get everything done.”
Biden is scheduled to resume campaigning in Florida on Wednesday with stops in Sarasota and Ocala. Upon arriving in Florida Tuesday evening, Biden stopped by a campaign field office in Sarasota to greet volunteers, and he commented on how different it must be for Floridians — who experience hurricanes more frequently than other parts of the country — to see such a large storm affecting the Northeast.
“It must be strange for you Floridians to see a hurricane up north,” Biden said as supporters laughed.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN