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Obama vows to beef up oil cleanup efforts

Officials will triple the manpower staged in places where oil has hit shore or is expected to hit shore within 24 hours, President Barack Obama told reporters Friday in Grand Isle, Louisiana, after touring the stricken area.

Flanked by Gulf-state politicians, Obama vowed to put the muscle of the federal government behind what he predicted will be long-term cleanup efforts of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and to ensure that the oil giant BP is held responsible.

Addressing Gulf residents, he said, "I am here to tell you that you are not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind. The cameras at some point may leave; the media may get tired of the story, but we will not. We are on your side and we will see this through."

Obama invited Americans to help by visiting the region, which remains largely untouched. "Except for three beaches here in Louisiana, all of the Gulf beaches at this moment are open; they are safe and they are clean," he said.