Rejected: Obama Turns Down McDonnell's Earthquake Invite

FEMA denied Virginia's aid request

Friday, Oct 14, 2011  |  Updated 4:40 PM EDT
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Engineers Inspect Washington Monument

AP

Tony Williams surveys damage at his Mineral, Va. home after the quake struck. Items in his home were knocked over and displaced, and the home suffered some structural damage.

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The answer is no.

President Barack Obama on Friday turned down Gov. Bob McDonnell's request to visit the small town at the epicenter of August's earthquake while he's in Virginia pushing his jobs plan.

McDonnell extended the invitation this week after Obama's administration rejected Virginia's application for federal assistance for those whose homes and businesses were damaged in the
Aug. 23 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered in Mineral. The Republican governor asked Obama to view the damage firsthand.

McDonnell said uninsured property damage estimates from the quake and the more than 40 aftershocks exceed $15 million in the rural community

McDonnell's office said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate called McDonnell Friday to let him know Obama will not visit that area during his two-day bus tour through
Virginia and North Carolina next week.

"The Governor believes the President would have gained a valuable perspective on the matter by personally witnessing the damage and hearing directly from residents,'' McDonnell spokesman
Tucker Martin said.

McDonnell said the state will appeal FEMA's denial.

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