Obama to ask his donors to help storm victims

By: AP
By: AP
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said Sunday he will tap his huge political network of donors and volunteers to help U.S. victims of Hurricane Gustav after it comes inland.

** FILE ** IN this Sept. 26, 2007, photo, Democratic presidential hopefuls from left, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., are seen on stage at a debate at Dartmouth College Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2007, in Hanover, N.H. Obama picked Biden as his running mate on Aug. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

LIMA, Ohio (AP) -- Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said Sunday he will tap his huge political network of donors and volunteers to help U.S. victims of Hurricane Gustav after it comes inland.

"I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there, if it becomes necessary," Obama told reporters after attending St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Lima, Ohio.

"I think we can activate an e-mail list of a couple of million people who want to give back," he said. Donations could include cash, goods and individual labor, he said.

Obama said he first would ask officials in the affected areas what is most needed, which may not be known for a few days.

"We don't want to solicit a bunch of canned goods that can't get there, or, you know, bottles of water where they already have water," he said.

Obama said he might visit storm-damaged areas once "things have settled down."

"The thing that I am always concerned about in the middle of a storm is whether we are drawing resources away from folks on the ground," he said, referring to the security demands his traveling entourage makes on local police and other officials.

Obama said he saw no problem with Republican rival John McCain's trip Sunday to Mississippi ahead of the storm's landfall. "I'm assuming that where he went, that wasn't an issue," Obama said.

Obama later conducted phone interviews with several Gulf Coast radio and TV stations, urging listeners to follow local officials' instructions about evacuations, his campaign said.

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