Kerry said he has instructed his Florida campaign staff to provide food, clothing, shelter or other assistance to people whose lives have been disrupted by the hurricane.
"For the moment, our focus is on all of the police and response personnel necessary not being diverted from a visitor and really focusing on the recovery itself," Kerry said.
"Teresa and I are really thinking about those folks and our prayers and our thoughts are with them in the next hours," he said. "And we hope very, very much that the recovery can proceed as rapidly as possible and lives can be put back together."
President Bush plans a Sunday tour of areas hit by the hurricane. Bush declared a state of emergency at the request of his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Kerry said he supports their efforts.