Sandy disrupts presidential campaign 8 days out

Hurricane Sandy overran White House politicking Monday, with President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney calling off campaign rallies as the strengthening storm bore down on the East Coast.
Associated Press
Oct 29, 2012

With eight days before Election Day, neither candidate could afford to totally shut down operations. The political barbs continued on the airways and between aides trying to show the upper hand in a race as tight as ever.

Obama, trying to show effective leadership in a time of impending crisis across some of the country's biggest population centers, met with federal officials monitoring the storm from a video hook-up and then addressed the country from the White House. He repeated that his administration is ready to help respond to the "big and powerful storm" and warned the consequences could be deadly if people don't follow instructions from emergency officials.

The president attempted to appear above the political fray, dismissing any notion that he's thinking about the campaign, in response to a shouted question.

"The election will take care of itself next week," he said, pivoting back to the microphone to answer after turning to leave. "Right now, our number one priority is to make sure we are saving lives, that our search and rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get the food, the water, the shelter they need in case of emergency and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track."

Romney didn't have official duties to tend to. But, mindful of the optics of politicking while millions of Americans faced grave hardships, the Republican nominee followed suit by cancelling all events that he and running mate Paul Ryan had scheduled for Monday night and Tuesday.

"Sandy is another devastating hurricane by all accounts, and a lot of people are going to be facing some real tough times as a result of Sandy's fury," Romney said at a campaign stop in Ohio. He also planned to stop in swing state Iowa before standing down as the storm was predicted to make landfall Monday night.

Romney urged the Ohio crowd to make a contribution to Red Cross or other relief agency "in any way you can imagine to help those in harm's way," then added a political footnote.

"I know the people of the Atlantic coast are counting on Ohio and the rest of our states," Romney said. "But also I think the people of the entire nation are counting on Ohio because my guess is that if Ohio votes me in as president, I'll be the next president of the United States."

Obama rushed out of battleground Florida Monday morning ahead of a planned rally and called off Tuesday's trip to Wisconsin. Obama's plans to campaign Wednesday in Ohio were still on, though campaign officials said they were evaluating travel plans on an almost hourly basis.

Four critical election states are affected by the storm — North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire.

Polls suggest Obama has an advantage in reaching the required 270 Electoral College votes. But Romney's campaign is projecting momentum and considering trying to expand the playing field beyond the nine states that have garnered the bulk of the candidates' attention.

While the impact of the storm had yet to be seen, at the very least it was a distraction as both sides were looking to make their final appeals and millions of ballots were already being cast in early voting. It threatened to dilute Romney's efforts to close the deal with voters while giving Obama a platform to show leadership in the time of crisis. And power outages could end up cutting off their message in television ads and automatic phone calls in the eastern swing states.

Obama advisers said they said they were confident in their ground game even if Obama has to curtail his campaign appearances. Senior campaign adviser David Axelrod insisted Obama is winning even if Romney's campaign argues he's riding a surge.

"We're obviously going to lose a bunch of campaign time," Axelrod told reporters in a conference call. "We'll try to make it up on the back end."

Republicans concede that the storm essentially pushes a pause button on the momentum Romney had been building in key states across the country. They insist they are in strong positions in battlegrounds like Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Iowa, but acknowledge that Virginia could be a problem. Romney was forced to cancel three rallies planned for the state on Sunday and it's unclear when he'll be able to return.

Romney's campaign is considering a plan to send the candidate to New Jersey later this week, where he could meet with victims and gauge damage with political ally Gov. Chris Christie. The move would follow the path Romney took in the wake of Hurricane Irene following the Republican National Convention, when he toured storm damage in Louisiana with Gov. Bobby Jindal, also a supporter.

Former President Bill Clinton still planned to appear before voters at the Orlando rally in Obama's absence. Later Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden were appearing together in Youngstown, Ohio.

Clinton planned to campaign in Minnesota Tuesday with likely stops on college campuses, before continuing on a tireless swing to help fill Obama's void this week to Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

Both campaigns used social media to urge supporters to donate to the Red Cross and said they would stop sending fundraising emails on Monday to people living in areas in the storm's path.

Romney staffers in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia were collecting storm-relief supplies at campaign offices to be delivered via one of Romney's campaign buses. In an email, Romney encouraged supporters in the storm's path to help neighbors get ready.

"For safety's sake, as you and your family prepare for the storm, please be sure to bring any yard signs inside," the email read. "In high winds they can be dangerous, and cause damage to homes and property."

 

Comments

Contango

Better call off the election - too dangerous.

Just crown Mr. Obama as president for life.

dont get it

that is the best idea i have heard in a long,long time.

The Big Dog's back

Finally winnie, we agree on something.

Randy_Marsh

And now we know why no one takes the socialist tolitarian Dictatorship loving leftist seriously. HA! If you want a dictator and communist and a tolitarian society please move to N korea, They already have one. No Thank you.

Kimo

Re: "If you want a dictator and communist and a tolitarian society please move to N korea,"

Don't have to......

Sell factories, prime land, give'm tax free zones. You can have the same type of government here in a few generations.......

coasterfan

To a righting tea party extremist like Randy Marsh, Democrats and Obama are Socialists, Communists, etc. The reality, of course, is that Obama is a Moderate. And now Romney is trying to rebrand himself as a Moderate, as well, which is why most of his answers at the last debate were some form of "I agree with the President"... The interesting thing, of course, is that to most Americans, Randy is exactly the sort of extremist that he apparently fears.

Randy_Marsh

You wouldnt "Crown" your lord and messiah? Tsk tsk Coaster. The radical and chief is the one you should be worried about killing 16 year old kids (Just so happends the kid was a citizen)without a trial. Arent you proud?

reese

Anybody remember Romney's comments during the Republican Presidential Primary Debates saying that he thought that we should get rid of FEMA at the Federal level and give that responsiblity to the states. He said that it is immoral to spend federal money on disasters because it adds to the federal debt.
www.usatoday.com/story/news/poli...

Randy_Marsh

Reese
http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl...
They are cutting 900 million from the FEMA funds,Last year it almost went broke and this year they are going to cut it. I wonder who is the president so we can blame him for not protecting it? HA!
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/...

eriemom

"They" is the republican led House. Would you expect anything else? The same branch of government that continues to subsidize industrial farmers and oil, but cut funding to FEMA.

What, exactly, has the House done to put Americans to work? Nothing. They have been working to " Make Obama a one term president."

Contango

@ eriemom:

Since 2011, Repubs have passed over 36 job and economic bills in Congress with bipartisan support.

All died in the Senate due to Sen. Reid.

There has been no Federal budget for the yrs. 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Looks like the U.S. has a "do nothing" Senate and a "do nothing" President.

Send this one termer back to what he knows: Community organizing.

eriemom

Name one. Each of the budgets would have decimated the middle class. I, for one, am happy that I will not get a coupon in the mail in the future for Medicare.

By re-electing President Obama we will send a message to the House of Representatives--DO YOUR JOB!

Contango

@ eriemom:

Some of the jobs and economic legislation:

REINS Act.(214-184)

Moratorium on new regs until employment is below 6% (256-172)

Extention of 2001 & 2003 tax rates and establishing a process of tax reform. (256-171)

Allow greater offshore drilling (253-185)

Prevent EPA from taxing greenhouse gases (255-177)

Reform Federal Rule making process (253-167)

Ease regulation on small business (263-159)

Looks like the Senate is preventing the will of our elected officials.

Contango

@ coasterfan:

"A moderate"?

Mr. Obama is the protector of decades of Progressive-socialistic-authoritarian movements: The New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society.

The over-reaching and central command nature of "ObamaCare" fully demonstrated that Mr. Obama is NOT a moderate.

eriemom

Your idea of "over-reaching" is my idea of a work around solution to a branch of government that is dysfunctional-the House of Representatives.

Contango

@ eriemom:

The true dysfunctional element is Mr. Obama.

Wait until the Fed debt ceiling needs to be raised once again due to overspending - should be fun!

OMG.LOL.WT_

'my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.'

Doesn't leave much time for other business.

Contango

@ OMG.LOL.WT_:

Isn't Harry Reid (D) still Senate majority leader?

Where's the Federal budget been for the last 3 yrs.?

Looks like the 2013 one is MIA as well.

Do you have a household budget or do you just spend, spend, spend and put any balance needed on a credit card?

OMG.LOL.WT_

Where were all the budget hawks through the Reagan years? National Debt per capita increased by 188.6%.

Contango

@ OMG.LOL.WT_:

A better guide is debt-to-GDP ratios:

http://floodingupeconomics.wordp...

It's only grown. What are we gonna do about it?

So do you have a household budget or not? It's a simple question.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Thank you Contango, Did you click on the link on that page?
http://floodingupeconomics.wordp...

Probably not. Or this one?
http://floodingupeconomics.wordp...