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.

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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. taxpaying veteran

    Calls for help during the attack in Libya were refused; Obama lied, we now have proof- Americans died as a result.

    October 28, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. a disgrace but you voted for him

    obama needs to be doing less talking and more packing!

    October 28, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    i guess next people will blame the president i there lights are turned off.

    October 28, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Will

    BREAKING: Weather Forces Romney to Shift Lying to Other States

    October 28, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    The Romney circus had absoultely nothing to talk to the people of Virginia about anyway. Right now, with only a few days to go, they're desperate to move ahead but can't, because they're INCAPABLE and SEVERLY LACKING in ideas and views and we won't get get into foreign policy. Virginia knows just like we know in California, who has their back and it's not the Ryan/Romney ticket. The funny thing is those 47%ers he turned his nose down on, will remember that, and will reward him accordingly when they go to the polls in support of our president.

    Obama/Biden 2012 ALL the way!

    October 28, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Zoe

    Wow, 30-some whole posts, this is definitely a Lib webpage. I love the comment that we conservatives are fed a bunch of malarkey...you poor propagandized libs, you all must like being treated like dolts. You believe anything you hear on your 'news" sites. It is so sad that you are all so easily fooled, so easily swayed by "shiny objects" taking you away from what is really important, the direction this administration is taking this wonderful country that stands for freedom and choice. You were born with a brain, why not use it? I watch and read both sides, Dem and Rep, and then I make up my own mind...you should try it. Let's start with the fact that Obama had two YEARS of a Dem majority in the House and Senate, he could have passed any bill he wanted, any budget. Do we have a budget? Did even one Dem vote yes on the budget Obama gave to the House and Senate earlier this year? For those of you who are clueless, the answer is no, not even ONE Dem voted to pass Obama's budget bill. Huh. On the other end of the spectrum, are any of you paying attention to what's happening in Libya, and the massacre that occurred last MONTH at our embassy? You know, the one where four Americans were killed and our Ambassador was brutally murdered? You have been repeatedly told that it was due to a video slandering Mohammad, that no one in the White House had a clue. If you believe that I have some land I want to sell you. You probably have not heard the TRUTH, there was a drone above the embassy transmitting real time video as the massacre was unfolding. The WH knew there was no demonstration, and they were warned in the week before the massacre that an attack on our embassy was eminent. And yet the very people protecting our embassy were not our military, they were removed out by the administration months before. The people "protecting" our embassy were not even Americans, and they had NO BULLETS IN THEIR GUNS. And, we were coming up on September 11. This alone says someone needs to be fired. New intel coming out, but not in the MSM, so you haven't or won't hear it – we had assets nearby that were told to stand down. Here's something to think about...perhaps the Obama admin has to put a lid on this so all the good little Dems who don't bother to find out the truth but say all the intel is just conservative mumbo-jumbo will go vote...before the truth comes out! Wake up, your Democrat party has been hijacked by Socialists. Unless you are a Socialist/Marxist/Communist or want government handouts (the dole used to be shunned unless there was true need, which was what it was originally for) you need to rethink what the "Democrat" party really stands for, what the people at the top are for and what they are against. You might just be surprised. But, sorry, that actually means you have to do some research.

    October 28, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Larry L


    climate change....oh my, you will be fortunate to have food in a few years if you reelect obama...climate change?
    -------------------------------------------------Nobody credible is left in the scientific community that doesn't only recognize the drastic change we will experience in our climate, they know man is causing the natural process to accelerate at a pace we are completely unprepared to handle. I'm aware the right-wing has no use for science or math when it conflicts with the reality you would choose to believe. You put your faith in "Dr. Limbaugh" and "Professor" Hannity. Good luck with that.

    October 28, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. micha

    Asked about federal disaster relief for recent tornado and flood victims at the GOP debate, candidate Mitt Romney called the spending “immoral” and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be privatized. With greenhouse pollution on the rise, the United States has been struck by a “punishing series of billion-dollar disasters.” Forget aid to victims of tornadoes or floods if Mitt is elected. They want to privatize Federal Emergencies also. Must be Tagg Romney is going to start up a new emergency management business now so daddy can pilfer the federal taxpayers money and give it to his family business.

    October 28, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @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."

    Mittens will make himself dizzy listening to his advisors telling him what to say that will be to his biggest political advantage, regardless of whether or not it is true or what affect it may have on our nation and her people.

    President Obama, on the other hand, has more than proven he can multi-task; we all also know that he is constantly updated on the storm situation (as well as everything else affecting our nation).

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 28, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @jerrylax: "The 2010 elections were a GOP landslide because obama ran wild...refused to work with the GOP AND OTHERS."

    Nope, President Obama has more than tried to cooperate with Repubs, including their ideas (health care mandate, for example, originally a Heritage Foundation idea championed by the likes of Gingrich back in 1996 and implemented by Mittens in Massachusetts) and trying to create consensus.

    The Repubs have used the filibuster more than 270 times, the most times by a long shot of any Senate. Democrats lost in 2010 because of low Democratic turnout (it's very common to lose the House during midterm elections; remember 1994 and 2006?).

    You can chant your Fox lies to yourself all you want, but that doesn't change the FACT that Repubs have consistently put party before country – and I can hardly wait until we toss all their fannies to the curb come November 6, 2012.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 28, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. lynette

    Don't let them sway you. Obama is going to win! And don't let the media getting away with defending flip flopper Romney who has the billionaire boys club. Make Calls, donate, blog, go everywhere spread the news, Obama IS winning and there is nothing they can do to stop him.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 28, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    Bassman- Right. But if the MSM did actually report the news of the Apologize and Appease Foreign Policy failure, the Obamabots wouldn't believe it anyway. Their Messiah can do no wrong, and anyone that disagrees is either a racist or evil.

    October 28, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. caliz

    Wishful thinking.
    Romney should be contesting Massachusetts (where he was governor) and Michigan (where he was born and his father was governor) before dreaming about Minnesota.

    Bill Clinton carried Arkansas (a solid red state) twice because people over there knew how good he was as governor. This is not the case with Romney. That tells you all you need to know about this liar/flip flopper.

    October 28, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. krehator

    Look out. The right wing nuts will be claiming this is another Conspiracy of the Obama administration. Obama used a secret weapon to create a hurricane. lol

    October 28, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Dee

    God is displeased with all the fighting, name calling and lies in this election process and the money that could be used for those who are hurting or towards bringing down the debt. He is the Supreme Power so he steps in and cancel everything with the arrival of a SUPERSTORM SANDY to bring everyone back to their senses. I truly believe this is true we can not go back to the Bush era we must keep moving forward he is for the 100% not 40% and he is in charge.

    October 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. real-voter

    I am still banging my head on the wall to think through how do you know for sure Romney can create jobs?,running a country is a lot different than running a company, being a successful CEO of a company does not mean be a successful "CEO" of a country.. for example, being a CEO of a company, you can easily buy, repacking (including let it bankrupt) and sell to make profit, because making profit is the No. 1 and only interests..., Can you do that if you run a country........ ????

    October 28, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. coco3

    OH tied, neck and neck......

    October 28, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. nc1965

    This is just a category one hurricane. It will turn into a tropical depression once it hits landfall.

    October 28, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Larry L


    Look out. The right wing nuts will be claiming this is another Conspiracy of the Obama administration. Obama used a secret weapon to create a hurricane. lol
    -------------------------------------------------Rush Limbaugh already tried that one out during the Republican Convention. It got a little traction but may have even been too much for the Republican base of under-educated, bigoted group of Fox news faithful. Still, most any conspiracy is enough to fire-up a few of those morons. Hate and racism are powerful motivators.

    October 28, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Larry L


    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.
    Do your homework! Republicans in the Senate filibustered 137 times – three times the previous record. They filibustered their own work done and approved in committee! They followed Mitch McConnell's plan to work only to give the President only one-term. That meeting was held on the very first day of Presidents term. Every House bill since 2010 included riders for "personhood" or sweetheart deals for big oil companies. No jobs bill was ever offered by the Republicans in the House without that political theater designed to please the radicals in the Tea Party. Republicans held America hostage during the effort to raise the debt ceiling – resulting in the lowering of America's S&P rating. Even now, good economic news is always greeted with disappointment by Republicans, more eager to get votes than help people suffering from Bush's recession. Pull your head out and step away from Fox News. You really need to learn something. You're about to vote for a pathological liar who flip-flops on every issue – just because he has white skin.

    October 28, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. clb2012now

    I don't want to see the President's face until he is ready to disclose or not disclose whether he sent help to the 4 American's in Libya. Obama could announce that he gave the order to kill Osama Bin Laden the same day. Yet won't admit whether or not he ordered assistance to rescue Americans. Should the firemen and policemen not have gone into the towers on 9/11/2001 cause they didn't know what was happening in the buildings?

    October 28, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. love america

    Romney will win by the grace of God. America will be saved from lies and half truths. Freedom will be restored. Faith in our government will be reborn. Dictorial rule will be gone. The people will have the final say. Liberals be gone. Go to Canada they will take care of you in your old age.

    October 28, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Hugh Mann

    Doesn't matter much now that Romney is supporting Obama's (and all of his policies). The race is over, Romney concedes that Obama was a good President and has nothing to offer as a replacement.
    The race is all about Race now

    October 28, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. Betiku

    Obama is an agent of change that America needs. 4 years isn't enough for him to clear all the mess the GOP has created. I wonder why you ignorants voted for george w bush for a second term. Obama hasn't committed half of the atrocities G.Bush committed and yet you are asking for his head. Vote for Romney and you will all live to regret it. you gullible people!

    October 28, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. Pulzarri

    Stop blaming everything on Obama. He doesn't run the U.S.A or the government. He doesn't make all the decisions. He is a great president and he IS going to win the election.

    October 28, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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