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Clinton Surveys Tornado Damage In His Home State


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AllPolitics, March 4) -- President Bill Clinton returned to his home state of Arkansas today to survey devastating tornado damage that left at least 25 people dead.

The president arrived in Little Rock about noon, then helicoptered over the southwest end of the city and Saline County to view the damage.

In hard-hit Arkadelphia, Ark., Clinton consoled Karen Kirkpatrick, 51, who lost her engine repair shop to one of Saturday's killer twisters.

"Don't worry," he told her. "We're going to go forward."

While the president often visits disaster scenes, the tragedy hit hard because it occurred in his home state. Clinton noted that he knew one of the people who was killed, 62-year-old L.B. Porter, whose body was found in a ditch hours after the storm.

Arkadelphia's most noted resident, Whitewater figure James McDougal, came through the disaster unscathed. "Well, I survived," McDougal said. "The only way it affected me directly was my electricity was out."

In all, more than 40 deaths were blamed on flooding and tornadoes across the region. Flooding has forced thousands of people from their homes in states including Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, and hundreds of homes and businesses have been damaged.

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