The White House said Mr. Obama signed the declaration after receiving a request from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and personally told Mr. Jindal about it during a conference call about Isaac. Mr. Jindal was considered a possible top vice-presidential candidate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Mr. Obama spoke via phone Monday with Mr. Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to discuss the tropical storm. Mr. Obama asked Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate to update the governors and mayor about the storm, which is expected to become a hurricane and hit landfall Tuesday or Wednesday.
“The president made clear that he has directed Administrator Fugate to make sure the governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each governor to identify additional needs if they arise,” the White House said in a summary of the call.
Mr. Obama frequently receives updates when storms have the potential to cause significant harm. Isaac comes at a politically sensitive time: Republicans are in Florida to formally nominate Mr. Romney as their candidate to run against Mr. Obama in November, and it is almost seven years to the day since Hurricane Katrina began its devastating march through New Orleans.
Former President George W. Bush received harsh criticism for his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, which flooded much of New Orleans, forced thousands to evacuate and led to the death of nearly 2,000 people.
Isaac, which FEMA has said could become a Category 1 hurricane, forced the Republicans to delay their convention in Tampa by one day.
The White House said FEMA has set up support bases in Florida and Alabama to stage supplies closer to areas that could potentially be damaged by severe weather. The administration has also deployed response teams to Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to help out.