"I don't think it's been a priority, but I think after this it will be a priority," he said of school shelters.
[Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET]
Another chunk of what President Obama said at the White House minutes ago: He praised the teachers who shielded children when the tornado came.
"Our gratitude is with teachers who gave their all to shield their children; with the neighbors, first responders and emergency personnel who raced to help as soon as the tornado passed and with all of those who, as darkness fell, searched for survivors through the night," he said.
[Updated at 10:18 a.m. ET]
President Obama has finished speaking. Meanwhile, rescuers continue to look for survivors in the Oklahoma City area. As Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN earlier Tuesday morning, the rescue effort is continuing and "we're very optimistic we might find one or two people."
[Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET]
Alluding to Oklahoma's history of dealing with devastating tornadoes -- including powerful ones that hit Moore in 1999 and 2003 -- President Obama said that if there's hope to hold on to, Oklahomans are better prepared than most.
"Americans from every corner of this country will be right there with them ... because we're a nation that stands with" Americans in trouble, he said.
[Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET]
More from President Obama's statement at the White House: "Our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today."
"Oklahoma needs to get everything it needs right away," he said.
[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET]
President Obama is speaking now at the White House:
"One of the most destructive tornadoes in history sliced through the towns of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed, dozens of people list their lives, many more were injured, and among the victims were children, trying to stake shelter in" the safest place they knew, their school, Obama said.
[Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET]
We're expecting President Barack Obama to talk about the Oklahoma disaster from the White House shortly.
[Updated at 9:57 a.m. ET]
Out of the 51 deaths initially reported in Monday's tornado, 24 bodies have been transferred to the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner's Office, the agency said Tuesday. An update from the medical examiner was expected at 11 a.m. ET.
[Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET]
People in the hard-hit Oklahoma counties of Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain and Pott can start calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin posted on Twitter.
[Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET]
Glenn Lewis, the mayor of tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, told CNN on Tuesday the rescue effort is continuing and "we're very optimistic we might find one or two people."
[Posted at 9:13 a.m. ET]
Rescue workers still are scouring rubble for survivors along the miles of destruction that Monday afternoon's massive tornado left in the Oklahoma City area.