Obama sees tornado damage in Arkansas

VILONIA, Ark. (AP) — By air and by foot, President Barack Obama has been getting a look today communities in Arkansas that were devastated by recent deadly tornadoes. He stopped in Arkansas today, making his first visit to the state as president, while on his way to California. Fifteen people were killed in an April 27th tornado outbreak near Little Rock that destroyed hundreds of homes.

Surveying the destruction by helicopter, Obama flew over a subdivision of short cul-de-sacs that was destroyed. He's also taking a walking tour in Vilonia, a small city north of Little Rock that suffered the most extensive damage from the storms.

Among the Arkansas politicians who are accompanying Obama is Sen. Mark Pryor. The Democrat is running for a third term against Republican Congressman Tom Cotton. His willingness to appear with Obama contrasts with other Democrats in difficult races who have chosen to keep their distance from the president.

Obama lost Arkansas in both elections, and polls show he remains deeply unpopular in the state.

%@AP Links

020-c-19-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent)-"much friendler climate"-AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports today's visit is Obama's first to Arkansas as president. (7 May 2014)

<<CUT *020 (05/07/14)££ 00:19 "much friendler climate"

APPHOTO ARDJ101: A U.S. Marine holds his hat to protect himself from the rotor blast of Marine One as it takes off with President Obama at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Ark., Wednesday, May7, 2014. The president visited tornado-damages areas near the base in central Arkansas. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) (7 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO ARDJ101 (05/07/14)££