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MATTHEW DALY
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says residents of the Gulf Coast should listen to local authorities and follow their directions as Tropical Storm Isaac approaches.

In brief remarks from the White House, Obama said, "we are dealing with a big storm" that could cause significant flooding and other damage.

Obama told Gulf Coast residents, "Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously."

Obama made the comments just before departing on a three-state campaign trip. The White House is aiming to balance leadership on the storm with the president's campaign plans.

The tropical storm is on the verge of becoming a hurricane as it veers toward New Orleans. You can track Isaac on KSDK.COM.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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