Campaign to resume Wednesday
By Justin Sink and Amie Parnes - 10/30/12 01:07 PM ET
Mitt Romney will resume campaigning Wednesday with a trio of events in Florida, while President Obama has canceled his election events to stay in Washington to monitor fallout from the storm the ravaged the East Coast.
Romney's move effectively ends the temporary suspension in the presidential campaign triggered by the landfall of Hurricane Sandy.
Even though Obama will be focusing on coordinating response to the storm, his campaign has shown an awareness of the fact the election is only a week away. The White House updated reporters early Tuesday morning with the president's work on response efforts to Sandy and released photos of Obama meeting with federal officials.
Both campaign have been wrestling with how to best balance the demands of a presidential race and the need to project the appropriate sensitivity as the Eastern seaboard grapples with the aftermath of the storm.
Romney, sensing the need to make up ground in the crucial battleground states — and wary of losing momentum — will continue his aggressive campaign schedule through the final six days of the election. The president, meanwhile is both handicapped and helped by a day job that will likely restrict his ability to travel or campaign openly but will also provide him multiple opportunities to seize the power of the presidency.
Strategists from both sides suggest that if the president's response to the storm is seen as effective, it could buoy Obama in the campaign's waning hours.
And Obama won't be without representation on the campaign trail. Vice President Biden is scheduled to campaign in Florida on Wednesday, while former President Clinton will travel to Minnesota and Colorado on Tuesday, for a total of four events on behalf of the president.
GOP running mate Paul Ryan also returns to the campaign trail Wednesday with events in Wisconsin.
Romney will travel with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), former Gov. Jeb Bush and Rep. Connie Mack as he criss-crosses Florida on Wednesday, with planned stops in Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville. The Republican presidential nominee is looking to build a lead in the Sunshine State — a must-win for Romney to have a shot at the White House — even as recent polls show the race there narrowing. A CNN/ORC poll of Florida released Monday showed Romney with just a 1-point lead there.
The president, meanwhile, spent Monday night and Tuesday morning coordinating with local officials whose jurisdictions were affected by the storm. High winds left millions without power Tuesday morning, and densely populated areas in New York and New Jersey were partially submerged by flooding.
A White House official said Obama is "very intense" in his efforts to help victims of Sandy.
"The President is focused on the response to Sandy, on making sure the federal government is doing everything within its means to assist state and local officials and the millions of people affected by the storm. He’s very intense about it," the official said.
The president spoke by phone to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a White House official said.
On Tuesday, the president also held a video-conference in the White House Situation Room to receive updates on recovery efforts from federal emergency officials. During the briefing, Obama “expressed his concern for those impacted by the storm, as well as the heroic first responders who are selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way to protect members of their communities,” according to a readout of the call.
A new NPR poll released Tuesday found Romney with a 1-point lead over Obama nationally, while a Pew Research poll found the candidates tied. How the storm will affect the tight race is at the forefront for both campaigns.