Photo Credit: Spencer Platt, Getty Images
With just a week until the presidential election -- and a razor-close race, by most estimates -- it's hard to imagine an event so big as to derail campaigning. But such an event is happening this week and it goes by the name of Sandy.
With the super-storm affecting millions on the East Coast, both candidates canceled campaign plans this week, notably Monday and into Tuesday. Campaigning in earnest may resume Wednesday, though both men are careful to manage their images while so many people are in danger. They both want to appear as strong leaders, but sensitive ones who have the greater good of the American people in mind.
Mitt Romney scheduled what his campaign calls a "storm-relief event" -- nominally devoid of political content -- in Dayton, Ohio, where he was previously set to hold a campaign rally, according to The New York Times. Attendees were asked to bring canned food, which will be donated to areas hit by the storm. No matter what his camp calls the event, they're well aware it's a chance for Romney to get on TV in the hotly contested state.
Meanwhile, President Obama is spending Tuesday at the White House, where he will address the needs of the impacted areas, and he spent much of last night keeping track of the storm's effects and talking with elected officials in those regions. He may address the country today as president, of course, but also as candidate in these final days leading up to the election.
Obama got perhaps an unexpected campaign boost Tuesday morning in the form of high praise from Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, who is one of Mitt Romney's high-profile surrogates. The exhalation was profuse and repeated, with Christie calling the president's efforts in the face of Sandy "excellent" and "wonderful."
“It’s been very good working with the president. He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful," Christie said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Christie also said the response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, was worthy of praise. That's the organization so highly criticized for its inept response after Hurricane Katrina.
In response to the question of whether Romney would visit the region, Christie said this: "I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. I could care less about any of that stuff… If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
Both candidates are still running ads in battleground states. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Obama in Florida on Monday, and will do so in Iowa today. Ann Romney will also campaign for her husband in Iowa today.