President Obama tours tornado damage in Arkansas. / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI, AFP/Getty Images
President Obama told residents of tornado-ravaged communities in Arkansas on Wednesday that they will not be alone as they rebuild.
"Your country is going to be here for you," Obama said after touring damage in and around Vilonia, Ark. "We're going to support you every step of the way."
Earlier, in a helicopter above central Arkansas, Obama surveyed damage from storms that struck on April 27. The president also met with affected families and first responders, and toured gutted neighborhoods on foot.
In brief remarks, Obama praised local, state and federal officials who have helped with the recovery and said "the federal government is going to be right here until we get these communities rebuilt -- because when something like this happens to a wonderful community like this one, it happens to all of us."
Obama was accompanied by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe; Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; and Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark.
Obama stopped in Arkansas en route to California, where he was scheduled late Wednesday to attend a fundraiser for Democratic congressional campaign committees.
The president was also set to be the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.
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