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Romney in New Orleans asks where the water came from

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, accompanied by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., talks with local residents during a tour of areas flooded by Hurricane Isaac, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, in Jean Lafitte, La. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

(CBS News) Surveying the flood damage produced by Hurricane Isaac, newly minted Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Friday told Gov. Bobby Jindal that he had come to Louisiana to learn -- and then asked where all the water came from.

Meeting with Jindal in the flooded Lafitte area of Jefferson Parish, Romney said, "I appreciate the chance to be here. I have a lot of questions for you. I'm here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what's going here, so that people around the country know that people done here need help."

Jindal lauded the contributions of the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other organizations amid a scene of downed trees, high water and National Guard troops. Romney expressed concern about the welfare of the 5,000 residents, some of whom had evacuated. He then asked, according to a journalists' pool report of the visit: "Did the water come from the sky, or the rivers, or the ocean?"

The comment brought to mind another observation about the natural wonders that Romney made during the primaries, when he returned home to Michigan and remarked, "I love this state. The trees are the right height."

Heavy rains continued to pound New Orleans Friday, and hundreds of thousands of people were without power.

President Obama will travel to Louisiana on Monday, the White House announced today. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a statement criticizing Romney's Louisiana visit as the "height of hypocrisy," saying that vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's budget plan in Congress would cut funding for disaster relief.