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President Obama Visits Tornado-Ravaged Joplin, Missouri

ABC News

(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- President Obama, on Sunday, told the shattered survivors of the tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, that their tragedy is "a national tragedy," and pledged long-term support from the federal government.

"This is not just your tragedy, but a national one, and there will be a national response," he said. "We're going to be here long after the cameras leave.

"This can happen to anybody," the president said. "Here but for the grace of God go I."

Obama was greeted at the airport by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who gave him a first-hand tour of the incredible destruction he had seen from Air Force One as he flew in to Joplin.

The president and governor surveyed the damage, both of them shaking hands and exchanging greetings and words of comfort and encouragement with people they met along the way.

The president is making the trip after returning Saturday from a six-day tour of Europe, where he focused on building U.S. relations with world leaders.

In Joplin, where hundreds of people were injured and at least 44 more are still missing, a week after the monster tornado tore through the city of 50,000, Obama is scheduled to meet with survivors and the families of those who were killed.

He also spoke at a Joplin Community Memorial Service on the campus of Missouri Southern State University on Sunday.

At least 139 people have died from injuries caused by the tornado.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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