Obama says aircraft carrier arrives in Haiti, to meet Clinton, Bush

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 -- U.S. President Barack Obama Friday made comments about the devastating earthquake in Haiti for the third consecutive day, saying aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has arrived in Haitian waters, and he is to discuss Haiti with two ex-presidents.

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U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about Haiti in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, January 15, 2010.

Obama said the aircraft carrier brought along helicopters critical in delivering assistance, namely badly needed water, food, and other life-saving supplies to priority areas in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

He described the scale of destruction there as "extraordinary," and losses "heartbreaking," as many people remain unaccounted for.

The president warned of difficult days ahead for relief efforts, as communications in Haiti are down, port closed, roads damaged, and food and water scarce. He said it will take time to establish distribution points so that resources can be delivered safely and effectively.

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A C-130 transport plane carrying supplies flies past the tower on board the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier enroute to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 15, 2010.

Obama said he managed to talk with Haitian President Rene Preval in the morning, and he pledged full support to Haiti. He praised Preval and his government for working under extraordinarily difficult conditions.

He also said he will meet with ex-presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Saturday to discuss how to enlist help in recovery and rebuilding efforts.

It was the third consecutive day Obama made public comments about the earthquake in Haiti, calling Haitians as "neighbors...family and friends."

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Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) load pallets of relief supplies onto an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter as the ship arrives off the coast of Haiti January 15, 2010.