Obama Declares The Jersey Shore “Back In Business” [VIDEO]
President Barack Obama delivered an upbeat, pep-rally-like speech outside Convention Hall in rainy Asbury Park and declared, "The Jersey Shore is back in business!"
It was a quick trip for the President with an accelerated schedule due to the rain; he leaving Asbury Park by 1:45 p.m. The crowds were thin as he drove back down Route 71 through Sea Girt. The president's schedule was accelerated due to the rain
Following a rousing introduction by Governor Chris Christie, Obama told the crowd, “It is good to be back in Jersey,” he said, amid cheers. “I love you back!” He said that New Jersey has proven it is "stronger than the storm" and was optimistic about the Shore's recovery from the storm. "If anyone ever wondered whether the Shore was going to be all right - you got your answer this weekend," said the president.
Obama spoke for just over 5 minutes and acknowledged there is still much work to be done. "We all understand there is still a lot of work to be done, there are homes to rebuild," Obama said. "We don’t want people to think we've checked a box and moved on. That's why I came back."
Obama mentioned "3 great Congressman" as being from New Jersey, mentioning Democrats Rush Holt and Frank Pallone, whose districts include storm damaged shore communities as well as Donald Payne from Newark. Although the day was marked by the reunion of Republican Christie and Democrat Obama, who put aside politics to help New Jersey recover, Obama left out Ocean County GOP representatives Chris Smith and Jon Runyan.
State Senator & likely gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono (D) was far behind the podium standing next to fellow Senator Loretta Weinberg. State Senator Joe Kyrillos (R), a friend of Christie's, sat up front.
The president and governor have arrived in Asbury Park as people held signs of the president reading, "Welcome to Jersey President Obama." Bruce Springsteen music played in the background and children from Midtown Community Elementary were on Memorial Drive in Neptune as the president's motorcade passed.
Obama and Christie stop to see the "Sandy Castle" on the beach in Point Pleasant Beach and about how he is building the structure. "He wanted to know the process. He wanted to know pretty much how we put it together," said sculptor Ed Jarrett.. "And then he was also interested in how long it lasts, and we told him that. It was more about the procedures of making it happen, and he was very excited about the school children and all the volunteers that helped. He was impressed with that process, or being able to utilize the community."
The boardwalk is lined with school children who were on field trips to the Jenkinson's Aquarium. Obama treated Christie to a game of Touchdown Fever; Obama doesn't throw well but Christie apparently won something on his toss.
Not everyone is an Obama fan: a man standing on the bridge into Pt. Pleasant Beach had a sign that said "Obama" with the name crossed out. He gave the motorcade the middle finger as it passed.
Obama is heading to Jenkinson's boardwalk in Point Pleasant via Route 71 which is lined with people waving at the motorcade. A large group of flag-waving school children from Brielle waited patiently for the president to pass.
Crowds have been growing as the rain falls on the boardwalk in Asbury Park awaiting the arrival of Obama and Governor Chris Christie. Four helicopters accompanied the president's Marine One, landing at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt.
Keeping a promise he made seven months ago during his first inspection of damage from Sandy, Obama returns to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday to see first hand how the area has recovered from Hurricane Sandy. The scene will likely be a familiar one as Governor Chris Christie takes Obama for a walk along the Asbury Park boardwalk.
They will end up at Convention Hall where Obama will meet with families and businesses affected by Sandy and visit with families and businesses affected by Sandy. He will also make a short speech.
“As residents and businesses prepare for a busy summer season, President Obama will visit the Jersey Shore with Governor Christie on Tuesday to view the ongoing recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy devastated areas of the coastline last fall,’ said the White House in a statement announcing Obama’s visit.
Road Closures & Red Zones
Security will be tight as Obama makes his way to Asbury Park late Tuesday morning. The Borough of Manasquan warns on its Facebook page that Route 71 will be completely closed to traffic in Spring Lake Heights for extended periods of time between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. as the presidential motorcade passes through.
During that time vehicles will not be permitted to drive on the highway, cross the highway or exit from private or commercial driveways along the entire length of Route 71 through Manasquan, Sea Girt and Spring Lake Heights.
In Asbury Park a security zone will be established from 3rd to 6th avenues and East of Kingsley Street to the oceanfront. There will be no beach access between 3rd and 6th avenues. Those holding tickets to see Obama speak inside Convention Hall should enter at 3rd and Ocean avenues at 11:30 a.m.
There will be no parking on Memorial Drive or on Fifth Avenue east of Memorial Drive. Street and residential parking in these and other areas of the city may be restricted at times. Alternate side of the street parking will be suspended.
Tickets to enter Convention Hall for the President's address were distributed on Sunday.