WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will make his first visit to flood-ravaged southern Louisiana on Tuesday as he attempts to assure the many thousands who have suffered damage to their homes, schools and businesses that his administration has made their recovery a priority.
The Baton Rouge visit is a reminder of the political dangers and opportunities that natural disasters can pose. On top of a competent federal response, it's critical for political leaders to demonstrate compassion and a reassuring sense of engagement.
Obama took some criticism by opting to complete his family's two-week vacation in Martha's Vineyard before inspecting the Louisiana flood damage personally and meeting with local residents.
The White House says Obama is willing to assume criticism about "optics" as long as the federal response is up to par.