After getting an up-close look at areas that are still unlivable from Superstorm Sandy, President Barack Obama is vowing to stick with residents of damaged New York neighborhoods "until the rebuilding is complete."

Eddie Saman clears out destroyed household belongings from his flood-damaged Staten Island home (John Moore/Getty Images)

Seventeen days after the storm hit, Obama today brought the spotlight to people still living without heat and electricity, and hugged some of those who are trying to rebuild their lives.

Speaking from a block in Staten Island that was demolished by the storm, Obama said, "We're reminded that we are bound together and we have to look out for each other." Nine days after a closely-divided country gave him a second term, Obama said that when it comes to helping people recover from the storm, "the petty differences melt away."

He met privately with parents whose two young boys were swept away in the storm. They were among more than 100 people who lost their lives.

Before arriving on Staten Island, the president flew by helicopter over an area of Queens where about 100 homes burned to the ground.

One man whose Staten Island home was wrecked says he's been waiting in line every day, all day, hoping to speak with FEMA officials. Anthony Gatti -- who said Obama should have visited sooner -- said that it would be "a great thing" if Obama could speed up the process of dealing with the federal government.


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)