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How hurricane Sandy tests Obama, Romney

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“He does not want to be an echo to President George W. Bush's response to hurricane Katrina, which became a symbol of incompetence,” writes Princeton historian Julian Zelizer at

If Obama stumbles over storm response this close to the election, it could seal his fate on Nov. 6. So Mr. Romney could benefit, but only if the president is seen to fail. Romney could also hurt himself if he comes across as overtly political.

“[T]here is little that Mitt Romney can do, other than watch to see what people think of Obama's response,” Mr. Zelizer says, “because any statement from him could easily become seen as political and offer little evidence of his own ability to lead.”

Romney proceeded Monday with a midday campaign event in Avon Lake, Ohio, but canceled an evening event in Wisconsin. The campaign also canceled two events Monday in Florida by Rep. Paul Ryan, his running mate. All Tuesday events for both candidates have been canceled.

“Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm’s way,” said Gail Gitcho, Romney’s communications director, in a statement.

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