Matthew Daly, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama vowed Thursday to stick with New Yorkers still struggling 17 days after Superstorm Sandy "until the rebuilding is complete" after getting an up-close look at devastated neighborhoods rendered unlivable.
Obama brought the spotlight to people still without heat or electricity and hugged many of those trying to rebuild their lives. He also delivered a postelection message of unity, nine days after a closely divided America gave him a second term.
"During difficult times like this, we're reminded that we're bound together and we have to look out for each other," Obama said from a Staten Island street that was demolished by the storm. "And a lot of the things that seem important, the petty differences, melt away."
Obama announced that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, a former chief of New York's Housing Authority, will be his point person to oversee long-term redevelopment in the region.
On a three-hour tour, the president encountered many still suffering in Sandy's aftermath and waiting in lines for food, supplies and other help.
He also met privately with parents whose two young boys, Brandon and Connor Moore, were swept away by the powerful storm. Damien and Glenda Moore's children were among more than 100 people who deaths were blamed on Sandy.
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