October 27th, 2012
11:10 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama, Romney cancel campaign events ahead of Hurricane Sandy

(CNN) - Both presidential candidates have canceled campaign events in the coming days as the East Coast prepares for a major storm, and Virginia's governor said Sunday his state would take measures to ensure residents are able to vote, despite potential obstacles brought on by Hurricane Sandy.

"We'll be ready, but we're planning for contingencies if there's still a problem," Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said on CNN's "State of the Union." He said his state would "absolutely" make polling centers like schools and fire stations a top priority for restoring power, should widespread outages occur.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

In Virginia, the effects of a major storm could linger until Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of customers in Northern Virginia lost power for more than week following Hurricane Irene in August 2011, and clean up efforts could be prioritized over making the trip to the polls.

Virginia offers early absentee voting only with an excuse, unlike other states which offer less restrictive ways to cast ballots before November 6. That means the race in the commonwealth will be won or lost on Election Day.

North Carolina and Maryland, two other states in the storm's projected path, offer in-person early voting, which has benefited Democrats in the past. Martin O'Malley, Maryland's Democratic governor, said Friday that early voting in his state could be affected by the storm.

In Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, residents only have the option of voting early by mail.

The approaching storm has already led both President Barack Obama's campaign and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney to modify campaign schedules.

Obama's final Monday campaign event in Virginia and first Tuesday event in Colorado were canceled, and the president will instead "return to the White House to continue to monitor Hurricane Sandy," Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, Romney canceled his Sunday events in Virginia and said he would instead join his running mate on a bus tour of Ohio.

Vice President Joe Biden also canceled a Saturday event in Virginia.

Romney is scheduled to campaign in Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin on Monday, then in Ohio and New Hampshire on Tuesday.

On CNN Sunday, top Obama aide David Axelrod said it was too early to tell how, if at all, the storm would affect the election.

"I don't think anybody really knows," Axelrod said. "Obviously we want unfettered access to the polls because we believe that the more people come out, the better we're going to do, and so to the extent that it makes it harder, you know, that's a source of concern. But I don't know how all the politics will sort out."

While Obama and Romney have a host of battlegrounds states to visit that are out of the storm's path – including Colorado, Iowa and Ohio – the consequences of a major storm would echo beyond mere logistics. A hurricane hitting the most densely populated section of the country would also suck media coverage from the campaign, as television networks and newspapers deploy resources to cover weather rather than politics.

It could also provide a contrast between the two candidates – one who is a sitting president, and one who wants to become one.

A strong leadership image of Obama making official tours of affected areas could boost his image in the eyes of voters; conversely, any missteps in the administration's response to the potential disaster would have damaging results.

In the statement, Carney said Obama "is being regularly updated on the storm and ongoing preparations, and he has directed his team to continue to bring all available resources to bear as state and local partners continue to prepare for the storm."

He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has "pre-staged resources" and that Obama "will continue to receive regular briefings."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters earlier in the day that the campaign is "closely monitoring the storm, and we'll take all necessary precautions to make sure our staff and volunteers are safe."

Romney also faces opportunities and pitfalls. His response, like Obama's, will be closely monitored and evaluated for its tone. Rivals will be ready to pounce at any sign of politicization, while the candidate will also be able to bolster his image of a leader by making visits to damaged areas.

Romney made such a visit to New Orleans following Hurricane Isaac, the storm that forced organizers to cancel the first day of the Republican convention in August. That visit didn't generate any negative headlines for the candidate.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak, Gregory Wallace, Ashley Killough, and Steve Brusk contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Clinton • President Obama
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Obama is leading Romney by 2.4% in 4 of the 7 states still in play. Obama is leading Romney by 1.4% in one, and tied in the remaining 2.

    To win, Romney has to win Ohio or Wisconsin, he still has to take 3 other states from Obama.

    Historically, a candidate that trails in a state by 2.4% wins only 14% of the time.

    Romney needs to beat the 7 to 1 odds not once, but three, possibly two other times.

    October 28, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. GayAtheist

    Socialism is Christ-Like...If you are anti-socialism, you are anti-Jesus.

    Socialist Jesus made everyoe share the wine, bread, and fish....stupid jesus.

    October 28, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. J

    Both should just stop campaigning till at least Wednesday, to think about the country first rather than BS attacks while the East Coast gets hammered by this storm. THE GOP still had their convention running as planned even though there was a hurricane that threaten New Orleans. I guess that for the GOP, partisanship goes before America.

    October 28, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. wadeh911

    Imagine the progress forward our country could have made these past 4 years if the Republicans in the US House and Senate did not oppose the same common sense ideas they previously supported. The weather events impacting the Virginia rally are just another excuse for the Republicans to criticize and tear down our President Obama. Remember the Republicans used the same tactics on President Clinton during his last term, more important to vote to impeach than vote to build America. These comments are from a former Republican who puts Country ahead of Party.

    October 28, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Jharris

    I don't know how Virginia will go. Obama will start off way behind in Virginia because they count the votes in Southwestern, and Central Virginia (Romney will win this areas 60-40) first which is where Romney will do very well. Then Richmond and the Hampton Roads area will come in, then the Northern neck and areas around Charlottesville, next are the outer exurbs where the GOP does well, then last is Northern Virginia. It is going to be tight with 90-95 percent of the precincts reporting in VA-probably a 0.5-2.0 edge for whoever is a ahead. I expect the military vote to be heavy in VA and for Romney as well as the black vote in the Hampton Roads area to be massive for Obama. College educated whites in N. VA will be 50/50, but Latinos and Asians will be strongly for Obama. It is a 50/50 state.

    October 28, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. on StreetWise

    Can't please everybody folks... hard spot to be in, some want the president to travel during a major storm, some want him to stay in D.C. Romney has just one job right now, that's to campaigning... President Obama has several other important jobs in addition to the pressure of campaigning for the highest office in American. You people criticizing Obama are just selfish short sited and ignorant... plain and simple!

    October 28, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    The right wing GOP followers blame our President for everything and everything that their idols screwed up and now they even blame the President for what terrorists do?! And they continual make the false claim they are patriots – it's disgusting . And then they expect Americans to trust them?
    Surprised they haven't gotten around to blaming Katrina or the BP oil spill on our President.

    October 28, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. jerrylax

    obama has to look like he is actually doing his job as the weather threatens the east coast...after all to get elected he cut Bush to pieces over the LA disaster...he of course ran against Bush (not McCain) using his now familiar character assassination tact. So, Romney goes to Ohio to finish taking down obama while obama twists on his own rope in DC...hahaha God is in control!

    October 28, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Larry L


    All of a sudden he's monitoring a hurricane, but couldn't monitor a terrorist attack?? I believe he was in Las Vegans during that catastrophe. We know the truth.
    You know what you hear on Fox News. The Libya situation is an example of slimy politicians taking advantage of an operational crisis to make critical comments. Intelligence data takes time to decipher – as we learned from the incorrect analysis done by the Bush Administration to start the Gulf War (where 4,500 died and over 100,000 were wounded). Romney show low-class when he opened his pie hole while the crisis was evolving. He showed how poorly qualified he is to assume the role of Commander-In-Chief.

    October 28, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    This megastorm is the best demonstration possible of why it's crucial for Obama to be re-elected! we need leaders who are firmly in touch with reality and who understand the science of climate change. republicans are neither! they are still denying the reality of climate change even as all the dire predictions of decades ago are playing out before our eyes. people who believe in myths and deny reality when it's right in their faces are not fit to lead us into the future.

    October 28, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. jerrylax

    The 2010 elections were a GOP landslide because obama ran wild...refused to work with the GOP AND OTHERS...so you goof balls out there blaming in impending sequester cuts on the GOP...think again. Your Marxist master set this thing up...read Woodward's new book (woodward is a famous left-winger, by the way) and you will see this grid lock is obama AND NO ONE ELSE! obama should never have been elected...and has proven so.

    October 28, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Alan

    How many previous presidents have had a congress whose sole desire was to make them a one term president? That's what I'd calol "evil." These senators and representatives don't care about their constituents enough to try to pass a jobs bill, or anything else for that matter, for the sake of the country. It could work, but I guess we'll never know. Thank you not republican congress. Why not try to be bipartisan for once? Bipartanship has become a fantasy of the past, aint gonna happen again. NOT EVER!


    October 28, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. jerrylax

    climate change....oh my, you will be fortunate to have food in a few years if you reelect obama...climate change?

    October 28, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Chris

    What is a SHAME is that a Consulate attack in Benghazi where four Americans were killed and our Embassies were under attack around the world didn't "sideline' Obama for a second! Nope on to Vegas and then a party with Beyonce and JZ and don't forget Letterman! Got to go see Letterman! I wonder if the pilot of Air Force One knows how to get to Washington?

    October 28, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. jerrylax

    LISTEN! The administration failed our people in Libya...before the attack, during, and after. obama was doing an LBJ by considering his own ego and political means in lieu of others. His policy domestically and abroad is a mess and he wants desperately to paint it differently...he wants you to not believe your eyes just believe him...trust him....and, when someone says trust me there is usually a good reason not to.

    And, President George Bush is not president...in fact he is busy running relieve and educational efforts in Africa...which is now falling apart under obama policy...Africa is a mess, and bush and others have been trying to keep it together...while obama supports the radical islamists rise to power in that region.

    October 28, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. real-voter

    wake up everybody!
    When you vote, you vote for your own interest. If your individual annual income is more than $200,000 or your household annual income is over $250,000, you vote for Republican; If your wife/daughter unfortunately gets raped, you want the baby to be born and the rapist has parental visits for the baby, you vote for Republican; If you want more wars, more military spending (built more nuclear submarines), you vote for Republican; If you are ignorant, anti-science, against stem cell research, still believe creatism over evolution, still believe climate change is hoax, you vote for Republican; If you want your social security benefits, medicare benefits get cut, you vote for Republican;
    Everyone can say I can create 12 million jobs, but how, look at whole economic climate in the world.....can you? yeah, you can make a lot of nice stuff.. but when everyone (not only individual person, but also individual country) has little money in the pocket, who is going to buy it........

    October 28, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. jerrylax

    go check the congressional record...you will find dems and repubs have all introduced jobs related legislation that obama refuses...it is his way or the hiway.

    October 28, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    Give it up loser GOPits. Everyone knows, except for the followers, that Fox media lies with no remorse to push right-wing agenda/talking points.
    At the White House (which is not in Las Vegas) rose garden the next day after the Benghazi attacks our President spoke of the terror attack. Mittens was busted for being a confused loser during the debate on this – – you don't even bother to pay attention during the debates?
    With such a child-like attention span you'd be better off watching Jon Stewart. He boils it down and uses humor which might keep your brain awake.

    October 28, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Dnick47

    Events of this nature (even lesser ones) are the reason why to strigent a fiscal policy will not work. There is no predicting them nor can the government buy insurance to protect itself against them. In an ideal world the government would have a "Contingency Fund) available to help cover at least part of the outlay; but, this is far from an ideal world and politicians cannot even keep thier greedy hands off Social Secutiry since its in their nature that when they see money they have to spend it... Getting back to my main point, while fiscal conseratism sound good on paper, in application it does not work in government as it would in business.

    October 28, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. NVa Native

    jerrylax-itive – trying to re-write history only works on weak-minded GOPits.

    October 28, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Larry L


    A Canadian to US Citizens re Presidential Election

    Looking at these comments from afar, US citizens should consider what they are voting for if they support Obama.

    We already have a Socialist-leaning government here in Canada and that is what you are in for if you elect Obama to a second term. The "ObamaCare" is what we presently have here in Canada (only under a different name). You will have huge waiting times for medical care – in particular scans, operations, specialist appointments – sometimes up to 2 years or longer. With Socialism, costs for food, clothing, gas, personal items, mortgages, rent, car prices, transportation, medical costs, utilities, and the list goes on and on, is extremely high. A vote for Gov. Romney would be in your best interests – especially for poor and middle class citizens.
    The "socialism" term was created by Fox News and Karl Rove. Ostensibly it relates to the bailout of the auto industry, the banks, and the mortgage industry. Bush issued the first bailout package and economists agree those efforts (and the stimulus funds) averted a catastrophic meltdown of our entire economic system. Should we have allowed the nation to completely fail? That's what Romney advised. Of course his money was offshore.

    Your anecdotal stories about healthcare are not supported by the facts. Canada now leads the U.S. in all of the health parameters that indicate a healthy population. Appointments for elective procedures may require more time, but elective procedures aren't the problem. Our healthcare costs were rising from 7-9% per year – doubling every 7 years. Millions of Americans, mostly children, were left with no coverage and one major health event would bankrupt families forever. HMOs, pharmaceutical firms, and insurance companies have spent millions in distorted advertising to poison voter's minds about the Affordable Healthcare Law – and it worked to a large extent. They have a lot of money to lose if we start demanding "best practices", do not allow them to dump people with expensive health issues, force them to compete for prices, and don't have annual caps on medical payments.

    October 28, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. NC Mom

    The trouble with Rmney is Romney. He is constantly pandering, and therefore, nobody knows what he'll do. You just can't trust a person who changes his statements based on tha audience. If you vote for him, you're pretty much assured of voters remorse....because what you see today is definetly not what you'll get tomorrow.

    October 28, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Ken Mark

    Obama has showed good judgement and has been right on all major issues including being against Iraq war from day 1 and saving auto industry which most people were against. He has helped bring economy back with unemployment coming down, stock market doubling since he took office which means most people's retirement accounts/401Ks have doubled, oil production at all time highs while investing in clean energy sources that will help us get energy independent. He wants to invest in education which will be key for future economic success while Romney will cut education. Romney is recommending failed economic policy giving tax breaks for wealthy while limiting deductions that will hurt charities which in end will put bigger burden on the govt to fill void. Obama's 4 trillion dollar plan to reduce deficit was blocked by Tea Party Republicans in 2011 because they refused to let Bush tax cuts for those making $250K+ expire. This has caused recovery to be slower than what it could have been. Obama favors balanced approach to reduce deficit which was recommended by top CEOs just yesterday. Romney's plan will only add to the deficit and he showed bad judgement picking Tea Party backed Ryan. Romney/Ryan have no foreign policy experience which is first time in recent memory neither candidate for President or the running mate had any foreign policy experience. Romney showed a tremendous lack of leadership making critical statements against the POTUS as our overseas diplomats were under siege. Let's re-elect Barack Obama so he can advance our economic recovery and provide stable leadership on world events that will ensure future prosperity.

    October 28, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. taxpaying veteran

    It was Hurricane Benghazi that wiped out Obama; not Sandy, Obama lied to Americans and that has been proven. Libya: OBAMA LIED; AMERICANS DIED. He refused to lift a finger even though they knew in real time.

    October 28, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. anoel2005

    it all comes down to whether you are voting for Romney for JOBS .....

    or Obama for more DEBT.

    October 28, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
1 2 3 4