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Obama Tours Earthquake Damage with Berlusconi

President Obama (2nd L) tours the ruined city of Onna near L'Aquila in central Italy July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

The Post's Michael A. Fletcher is in L'Aquila, Italy, traveling with the president. His pool report from Obama's tour of the town with the Italian prime minister follows:

President Obama joined Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for a tour of the earthquake-shattered center city of L'Aquila.

Walking through the old town's narrow streets in his shirtsleeves, Obama got an up-close look at the damage from the April earthquake that killed nearly 300 people and displaced 65,000 others.

Many of the buildings in the town remain in a state of collapse or partial collapse. Scaffolding lined many others. And piles of rubble were everywhere.

Obama and Burlesconi examined a series of maps displayed in the town square that illustrated the pattern of the seismic damage and buildings that can be repaired.

Obama then expressed his condolences to city officials while thanking rescue workers for their efforts.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family members who lost loved ones," Obama said.

He then took pictures with the workers, telling them "Nice job. Keep up the good work."

Obama said the United States has been supportive in the rescue and rebuilding efforts, and he singled out Italian Americans for their help and concern.

The president walked down one narrow street to survey damage of a collapsed government building up close along with Berlusconi and the city's head of civil protection, who led the recovery effort.

The site was about a 15-minute drive from the site of the G-8 meeting.

Also, when Obama arrived in the old town square he was initially apologetic for not wearing a suit coat, when he saw the town's mayor had one on.

"I'm sorry I didn't put on my coat," he said. "I thought we were going to walk." But as it turned out, he did walk.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 8, 2009; 2:13 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Obama Abroad  
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Next: POTUS Events: Obama at G-8



The Anti-Christ Barry Hussein spreads his destruction wherever he goes!

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 9, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Millions of people like myself voted for you to run this country so get with it as our patience is already starting to wear thin. Unemployment is over a half million again so how about cutting a few thousand federal workers who do nothing such as congress men and women.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | July 9, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse


Russian agencies, quoting the government's press service, said Putin treated Obama to black caviar with sour cream, smoked beluga with pancakes and tea made in the traditional Russian samovar, a big coal-fired kettle.

IUCN classifies the beluga as Endangered. It is a protected species listed in appendix III of the Bern Convention and its trade is restricted under CITES appendix II. The Mediterranean population is strongly protected under appendix II of the Bern Convention, prohibiting any intentional killing of these fish.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has banned imports of Beluga Caviar and other beluga products from the Caspian Sea since October 6, 2005.

Posted by: xinunus | July 9, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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