Watch President Obama’s National Address on Hurricane Sandy

BY News Desk  October 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM EST

As Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the U.S. East Coast, President Obama addressed the nation shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday.

“Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying,” he said. “When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Do not delay, don’t pause, don’t question the instructions that are being given, because this is a serious storm and could potentially have fatal consequences if people haven’t acted.”

The president emphasized that he’s “confident that we’re ready, but the public needs to prepare for the fact that this is going to take a long time” for impacted areas to get back to normal. “This is going to take a long time to clean up. The good news is that we will clean up and we will get through this.”

Responding to a question about how the storm might play into election-season politics, Mr. Obama said he’s “not worried about impact on election. I’m worried about the impact on families, on our first responders. I’m worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. The election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our No. 1 priority is to make sure we are saving lives.”

Watch the full speech above.