Wary of being seen as putting their political pursuits ahead of public safety, the two White House hopefuls reshuffled their campaign plans as the storm approached. Both candidates were loath to forfeit face time with voters in battleground states like Virginia.
"The storm will throw havoc into the race," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
Obama canceled campaign stops Monday in Virginia and Tuesday in Colorado to monitor the storm but planned to go forward with other events Monday in Florida and Ohio, with former president Bill Clinton at his side. Romney nixed three stops in up-for-grabs Virginia on Sunday, opting instead to campaign with running mate Paul Ryan in Ohio before heading Monday to Wisconsin, where the former Massachusetts governor has chipped away at Obama’s lead.
"Let's today when we get home put in our prayers the people who are in the East Coast in the wake of this big storm that's coming," Ryan said in Celina, Ohio.
Sunday Oct. 28 12:40 a.m.
Could Hurricane Sandy affect the outcome of the presidential race? Who does this barreling meteorological behemoth help or hurt most, President Obama or Mitt Romney? Mike Allen at Politico.com, one of the best-sourced guys covering politics, muses thusly:
The October Surprise turns out to be a superstorm with the deceptively placid name of Sandy, raising the possibility of another asterisk election if power is out for much of the final week, or even on Election Day, in key parts of Virginia and/or Ohio. Just the frenzy around the forecast could disrupt this week's early voting, which probably hurts President Obama. But he also has an opportunity to be seen as president – a commander-in-chief moment. So no one's sure, but it's a huge topic in Boston and Chicago. Here is the take from some of the smartest people in politics:
A top Democrat: "Anything that disrupts campaign/candidate schedules at this point in the race is significant. These events are important to the campaigns as a way of activating and energizing voters (even more important in early voting states). The earned media pieces can be made up in other ways (satellite interviews, etc.), but there is no substitute for candidate travel. ...