The threat of Hurricane Sandy has introduced a new element into the race for the White House with just over a week left until Election Day, as both President Obama and Mitt Romney have had to shake up their schedule over concerns about the weather.
Romney scrapped a full day of campaign stops in Virginia on Sunday, instead joining running mate Paul Ryan’s bus tour in Ohio.
President Obama spent a chunk of the weekend dealing with administration preparedness efforts for the storm, going Sunday to meet with the FEMA Director and others.
He also shortened a three state campaign trip on Monday to just one stop in Orlando, Florida, scrapping stops in Ohio and Virginia in order to keep tabs on the storm.
“The President continues to receive regular updates on the storm,” read a statement from the White House issued on Sunday, “and continues to direct his team to make sure all available resources are brought to bear to support state and local partners.”
Despite all the talk about Sandy, the President left Washington, D.C. on Sunday for Florida, as he visited his campaign office in Orlando, bouncing in with a bunch of pizzas for his staff there.
“I hate to put the burden of the entire world on you but basically it’s all up to you,” the President joked.
The changes in schedule weren’t just limited to Mr. Obama and Romney.
Sunday afternoon, Vice President Biden landed in New Hampshire on a campaign trip and quickly put out word that he would not do a planned event for Monday in Keene because of worries about the storm. Instead he flew to Columbus, Ohio for the night.
Romney’s campaign also postponed a planned stop in New Hampshire on Tuesday, still not certain what the weather would be in coming days.
It wasn’t clear if Sandy’s arrival on the Eastern Seaboard would cause any more cancellations for the candidates; on Tuesday, the President is also scheduled to stump for votes in Wisconsin, a state that Romney will visit on Monday.
An Obama stop in Colorado on Tuesday was delayed; the President will go there on Thursday, part of three state trip that also includes Nevada and Ohio. He will make a series of stops in Ohio on Friday.
As for Romney, he will be both in Wisconsin and Iowa on Monday; over the weekend, he received the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register.
It was the first time the Register had endorsed a Republican running for President since 1972.
With just eight days of campaign stops left, the decisions on where the candidates go should tell us a lot about what they are thinking.
For example, the President will be in Ohio on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a clear sign that work needs to be done to keep the Buckeye State in his column.
But Hurricane Sandy is also limiting what the President can do, as Mr. Obama will visit just one state on Monday and one on Tuesday – along with a visit to New Hampshire on Saturday, that means the President will have been in only three states over five days, since he had no campaign events on either Friday or Sunday, while Romney was very active over that same period.
Here’s a look at what’s ahead in coming days, with the obvious caveat that this schedule may certainly change:
Monday October 29
ROMNEY: Iowa, Wisconsin
Tuesday October 30
ROMNEY: Ohio, Iowa
Wednesday October 31
Thursday November 1
OBAMA: Nevada, Colorado, Ohio
Friday November 2
SATURDAY November 3