In a release, the White House sent out a copy of the president's remarks made at Asbury Park in New Jersey. The remarks are unedited here:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press
May 28, 2013
REMARKS BY THE
ON REOPENING OF
JERSEY SHORE BOARDWALKS
Asbury Park, New
1:26 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New
Jersey! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Jersey.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you
Let me, first of all, say thank you
to Governor Christie for that introduction and the great work he’s done
here. (Applause.) Your Mayor, Ed Johnson, is here as well and has been
working tirelessly on your behalf. (Applause.) We’ve got three
great representatives in Congress from New Jersey -- Rush Holt, Frank Pallone,
Donald Payne, Jr. (Applause.)
Now, last week, my
me -- they said, Mr. President, do you want to spend next Tuesday in
Washington, or would you rather spend it at the Jersey Shore?
(Applause.) And I’ve got to say I’ve got to make some tough decisions as
President, but this wasn’t one of them. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate
Governor Christie and I just spent
some time on the Point Pleasant boardwalk. I got a chance to see the
world’s tallest sandcastle being built. We played some Touchdown Fever --
I got to say, Christie got it in the tire the first try -- (laughter) --
although I did pay for his throws. (Laughter.) I played a little
Frog Bog, and Governor Christie’s kids taught me the right technique for
hitting the hammer to get those frogs in the buckets the way I was supposed
to. (Laughter.) And, of course, I met with folks who are still
rebuilding after Sandy.
Now, we all understand there’s
still a lot of work to be done. There are homes to rebuild. There
are businesses to reopen. There are landmarks and beaches and boardwalks
that aren’t all the way back yet. But thanks to the hard work of an awful
lot of people, we’ve got wonderful shops and restaurants and arcades that are
opening their doors. And I saw what thousands of Americans saw over
Memorial Day Weekend: You are stronger than the storm.
(Applause.) After all you’ve dealt with, after all you’ve been through,
the Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business, and they want all
Americans to know that they’re ready to welcome you here. (Applause.)
And I’ve got to say, if they ever
let me have any fun, I’d have some fun here. (Laughter and
applause.) I was telling my staff on the ride over, I could see being a
little younger -- (laughter) -- and having some fun on the Jersey Shore.
(Applause.) I can’t do that anymore. (Laughter.) Maybe after
I leave office. (Laughter and applause.)
I think a friend of mine from here
once put it pretty well: “Down the shore, everything’s all right.”
(Applause.) He’s the only guy a President still has to call “The
Boss.” (Laughter.) Other than the First Lady.
But for generations, that’s what
this place has been about. Life isn’t always easy. We’re a people who
have to work hard and do what it takes to provide for our families -- but when
you come here, everything’s all right. And whether you spend a lifetime
here, or a weekend, or a summer, the Shore holds a special place in your heart
and a special place in America’s mythology, America’s memory.
When I was here seven months ago,
Hurricane Sandy had just hammered communities all across the East Coast, and
lives were lost, and homes and businesses were destroyed, and folks were
hurting. And I remember something Chris said back then. He said,
“We cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all New
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, we do!
THE PRESIDENT: And it
didn’t. You didn’t let it. You kept going. Because these
towns have a special character -- not just in the summer but all year
round. From the moment the hurricane hit, first responders worked around
the clock to save lives and property. And neighbors opened their homes
and their hearts to one another. And you came together as citizens to rebuild.
And we’re not done yet, and I want
to make sure everybody understands that, because for somebody who hasn’t seen
their home rebuilt yet or is still trying to get their business up and running
again, after all those losses, we don't want them to think that somehow we’ve
checked a box and we’ve moved on. That's part of the reason I came back,
to let people know we’re going to keep on going until we finish.
But if anybody wondered whether the
Shore could ever be all right again, you got your answer this weekend.
(Applause.) From Sea Bright to Bay Head, from Belmar to Seaside Heights,
folks were hanging out on balconies and beaches. Shows were sold out at the
Stone Pony. (Applause.) Kids were eating ice cream and going on
rides, going and eating some more ice cream. (Laughter.) Guys were
trying to win those big stuffed animals to impress a special girl. So
like I said, the Jersey Shore is back in business.
The work is not over, though.
Seven months ago, I promised you that your country would have your back.
I told you we would not quit until the job was done, and I meant it. I
meant it. (Applause.)
Craig Fugate, the head of FEMA, he
couldn’t be here today, but I want to thank him and his team for their ongoing
work. FEMA was here before Sandy made landfall; they’re still here
today. They’re working with the Governor’s team and with the task force I
set up to support families and communities who still need help. Since the
storm hit, we’ve provided billions of dollars to families and state and local
governments across the region, and more is on the way.
And even as my team is helping
communities recover from the last hurricane season, they’re already starting to
prepare for the next hurricane season, which starts this Saturday -- because if
there’s one thing that we learned last year, it’s that when a storm hits, we’ve
got to be ready. Education, preparation -- that's what makes a difference.
That's what saves lives. And anyone who wants to make sure they’re ready
-- for a hurricane or any other disaster -- I want them to visit something -- a
website called Ready.gov. Make a plan. It’s never too early.
So, Jersey, you’ve still got a long
road ahead, but when you look out on this beach -- this beautiful beach here,
even in the rain, it looks good. You look out over the horizon, you can
count on the fact that you won’t be alone. Your fellow citizens will be
there for you -- just like we’ll be there for folks in Breezy Point and Staten
Island -- (applause) -- and obviously, we’re going to be there for the folks in
Monroe [sic], Oklahoma, after the devastation of last week. (Applause.)
Part of the reason I wanted to come
back here was not just to send a message to New Jersey, but send a message to
folks in Oklahoma: When we make a commitment that we’ve got your back, we
mean it -- (applause) -- and we’re not going to finish until the work is
done. Because that’s who we are. We help each other as Americans
through the bad times, and we sure make the most of the good times.
So let’s have some good times on
the New Jersey Shore this summer. (Applause.) And next summer and
the summer after that, and all year long, America, bring your family and
friends. Spend a little money on the Jersey Shore.
(Applause.) You’ll find some of the friendliest folks on Earth, some of
the best beaches on Earth. And you’ll see that even after a tough couple
of months, this place is as special as ever, and down the Shore, everything is
still all right. (Applause.)
Thank you, everybody. God
bless you. (Applause.) God bless America. (Applause.)
1:35 P.M. EDT
Labels: Asbury Park, boardwalk, New Jersey, President Barack Obama, President Obama