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President Obama went to New Orleans for the first time as president Thursday to visit a charter school and to hold a town hall meeting. While there, he told the people of the city that he is committed to helping them continue to rebuild, more than four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.
Obama observed that the destruction on the Gulf Coast was caused not just by a natural disaster, but also by the failure of government at every level to prepare for it. "We will not forget about New Orleans, and we are not going to forget about the Gulf Coast," he promised. "Together we will rebuild this region and we will rebuild it stronger than before."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal attended, as did Sen. Mary Landrieu, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, and Tyren Scott, a 4th-grade boy who asked the president the last question during the question and answer session of the program.
"Why do people hate you? And why, aren't they supposed to love you, if God is love?" Tyren asked the commander-in-chief.
The crowd clapped for Tyren as Obama laughed and patted Tyren on the shoulder. "First of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me; I got a whole lot of votes," Obama joked. "A lot of it is what's called politics, where once one party wins, the other party feels like they've got to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes. So you shouldn't take it too seriously."
He went on. "But people are worried about their own lives. A lot of people are losing their jobs right now. They're losing their health care or they lost their homes to foreclosure and they're feeling frustrated, and when you're president of the United States, you've got to deal with all of it. You get some of the credit when things are going good, but when things are going bad, you get some of the blame."
"But that's all right," Obama said, adding, "I'm a pretty tough guy. Are you a tough guy? You look pretty tough. So you've just got to keep going on going, even when folks are criticizing you, when you know you're doing it for other people."
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