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President Obama addressed the nation Monday (Oct. 29), making it clear that his first priority is making sure people on the East Coast are safe. “Obviously, everyone is aware at this point that this is going to be a big and powerful storm,” he said from the White House press briefing room.

“Millions of people are going to be affected. The most important message I have for the public right now is please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate.”

The storm has put roughly 60 million people living in various states in harm’s way, and is expected to make landfall in New Jersey this evening. Residents in the New York City tri-state area have been asked to either stay home or evacuate, depending on the threat level. Manhattan also suspended its MTA subway and bus services, as of Sunday (Oct. 28) night, and more than 6,000 flights across the country have been grounded.

Coming up on just over a week before the presidential election, the commander in chief said that his campaign efforts are not at the top of his agenda.  “I’m not worried about the impact on the election — I’m worried about the impact on families, and first responders… the election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our number one priority is to make sure we are saving lives.”

Both he and Mitt Romney have canceled campaign stops this week, in light of the storm.

Click below to see the damage that the storm has already done to some of the East Coast, and the Caribbean countries, where it has claimed the lives of 69 people.


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Photo: Washington Post/AP/Reuters

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