President Obama, Romney campaign with eye on storm
With an eye on a huge storm threatening the US East Coast, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have begun a 10-day sprint to the finish in a deadlocked contest revolving around a handful of battleground states.
Approaching Hurricane Sandy forced both campaigns on Saturday to adjust travel schedules and cancel events.
Even at this late date, neither wanted to risk the appearance of putting politics ahead of public safety.
Obama pressed on with a trip to New Hampshire but held a conference call with administration officials about emergency preparations from aboard Air Force One.
Campaign spokesman Jennifer Psaki said the Obama team was continuing to promote early voting as something that provides flexibility for busy families but she added that “safety comes first and that’s the case with early voting as well”.
An email announcing Vice President Joe Biden’s Saturday rally in coastal Virginia Beach, Virginia, had been cancelled said the change was “being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure that all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm”.
None of Obama’s campaign stops had been cancelled but he did adjust his travel schedule slightly. The campaign moved up his planned Monday departure for Florida to Sunday night to beat the storm.
Romney has officially cancelled all three Sunday events planned for Virginia because of weather concerns.
Campaign spokesman Rick Gorka said it’s “a cautionary move to ensure emergency resources personnel would not be diverted”.
Instead of campaigning in Virginia, he will head back to Ohio, where his running mate Paul Ryan is in the midst of a bus tour. He plans to join him for three Sunday events there.
Ryan planned to be in the state until Monday, trying to connect with the working class voters the Republican ticket needs if it is to deny Obama a second term.
Ryan said Obama has not made the case that Obama deserves another four years in office.
“He can’t run on his record. The Obama economic agenda failed not because it was stopped; it failed because it was passed,” he told 1000 supporters at a factory in New Philadelphia in eastern Ohio.
With the November 6 election fast approaching, Obama and Romney are tied nationally. But the president still appears to have more ways to reach the required 270 electoral votes.