Destination news: Obama tours Florida


PANAMA CITY, Fla. – President Obama toured waters off Panama City, Fla., in a visit meant to kick off recovery in a region hit hard by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, officials said.

The president, first lady and younger daughter Sasha took a cruise Sunday on an excursion boat, accompanied by U.S. Coast Guard vessels and some leaping porpoises, CNN reported.

They were aboard a converted 50-foot Navy launch called the “Bay Point Lady” for the morning cruise, the White House said.

Before a Saturday swim, the president repeated his administration’s commitment to ensuring a full cleanup and recovery for a region hard hit by the disaster.

“As a result of the cleanup effort, beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, safe, and open for business,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons Michelle, Sasha, and I are here.”

In an Alabama resort town 175 miles west of Panama City, officials said they were still dealing with the aftermath but were hopeful summer visitors would return.

“We don’t know what to expect and we certainly have no experience in dealing with it — no training, no background and every day is a different day,” Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said.

But, he said, “The beaches are clean, and the water is open, and we still have hope to salvage a good portion of this year.”