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Obama pays a surprise visit to Framingham

Posted by Your Town  April 1, 2010 06:12 PM

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President Obama made a brief surprise visit today to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency bunker in Framingham, where state officials have been coordinating the response to the recent recordbreaking torrential rains.

Obama's motorcade arrived shortly before 6 p.m. Joined by Governor Deval Patrick, he visited for 15 minutes, thanking workers in the bunker for their efforts.

"The one thing I would say is whether you are a governor or a president ... when these kinds of natural disasters hit, what really matters is the people on the ground," he said, according to a pool report. "I just want to say thanks on behalf of the country as well. ... Good job."

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Alex Brandon/AP... President Obama meeting with state emergency coordinators at the bunker

He told one official later that "It seems like, at least, we are going to get some sunshine outside. The dams are holding. It is a testimony to all your excellent work."

Massachusetts was inundated by three major rainstorms in March, which made the month the rainiest March on record. President Obama before the recent storm had already declared much of the state a federal disaster area.

In Framingham, the Sudbury River at Saxonville crested just short of 14 feet Wednesday afternoon, breaking the previous record of 13.5 feet, officials reported.

Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties have been declared disaster areas.

The White House also announced Thursday that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, formerly the head of Boston EMS, will visit hard-hit Rhode Island Friday for a look at damage caused by the flooding.

Obama had visited Maine earlier today to tout the health care overhaul bill he signed last week. After Framingham, he headed to Boston to raise money for Democratic candidates.

The president will speak at two fund-raisers for the Democratic National Committee. The first one is a reception at the State Room, the second a dinner at the Boston Opera House.

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