Obama Monitors Hurricane Irene, But No Plans to Cut Vacation Short

ABC News' David Kerley ( @David_Kerley) reports:

With the powerful Hurricane Irene heading toward the Carolinas, the White House says preparations are well underway, but that the President has no plans to return to Washington D.C. early.

Mr. Obama was briefed this morning, and paused during his golf round yesterday to speak to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, Craig Fugate.

“What we would encourage people to do is to not just listen to the instructions and advice and orders that are given by state and local officials, but to actually follow those instructions,” deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest told the traveling White House Press Corps in Martha’s Vineyard.

Earnest says teams have been pre-deployed to Virginia and North Carolina, and supplies of water and other essential goods have been positioned and he says residents should use Ready.gov for preparation suggestions.

FEMA was roundly criticized for its handling of Hurricane Katrina during the previous administration. But Mr. Obama, through his spokesman suggests much is different now. Earnest says the President has “complete confidence” in FEMA Administrator Fugate.

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