President Obama visits south Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

President Obama visits south Mississippi

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Air Force One touched down in Gulfport 15 minutes early, and President Barack Obama was greeted by Governor Barbour and his wife.  Mr. Obama then made his way to a small group of people to shake hands and give a few hugs to folks weary of dealing with the spill in the Gulf. 

Then a meeting with several state and local officials. The president stressed the need for better offshore protection with the use of boats.  "Have we done a an effective inventory of which ones are large enough and have enough trained personnel that they can actually lay boom or they can engage in skimming, which ones should be deployed more as sentinels to identity where the oil may be coming in." 

The president also stressed fair and just compensation from BP for coast business losses.  "We have a clear understanding about how we can best present to BP the need to make sure that individuals and businesses are dealt with in a fair manner and in a prompt manner." 

Most importantly to coast leaders, a call out from the president for help from those who might come here to visit.  "There's still a lot of opportunity for visitors to come down here." the president said.   "A lot of beaches are not yet affected or will not be affected.  We want to make sure that people who have travel plans down here to the gulf area remain mindful of that because if people want to know what they can do to help folks down here, one of the best ways to help is to come down here and enjoy the outstanding hospitality." 

After the meeting at the Coast Guard station, the president traveled to the Courthouse Road pier in Gulfport for more talks with local business owners and the governor. 

And even with Obama's meeting, he himself did what he is telling the nation to do, doing something touristy here, stopping at the Ken Combs pier at the end of Courthouse Road, eating a picnic lunch including fried gulf shrimp and he got a snowball at the stand there.

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