With just week left before the Elections, both major-party presidential candidates have canceled planned campaign stops due to rapidly approaching Hurricane Sandy, which could directly impact an estimated 60 million people in the Eastern United States.
The president has assumed control over the federal emergency response during the storm, demonstrating his powerful role as Commander in Chief:
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney “has no role other than to express sympathy” as America waits for Hurricane Sandy to pass.
Battleground states of Virginia and New Hampshire are no longer accessible and have been removed from the the campaign trail. Romney had hoped to close the gaps in these states, where recent polls show Obama maintaining a slight lead.
The hurricane could seriously hinder Obama’s voter turnout strategies, and both candidates are at risk of losing media attention, but it is Romney’s campaign that is more likely to be devastated by the storm. Hurricane Sandy’s media attention is not only blunting Romeny’s momentum gained during the debates, but it could also potentially negatively impact public opinion towards the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Earlier this year, Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan publically opposed the Obama-backed creation of a disaster fund for emergency preparedness. Ryan was one of 66 house members to vote against the measure, which passed anyways, and luckily will factor into the assistance of those harmed by Sandy.
Further, Romney’s statements made during 2011 opposing federal disaster relief funding have now been brought back into the spotlight:
“That 2005 storm and the subsequent disaster of a flooded New Orleans compounded by an inept federal government response under President George W. Bush is indelibly imprinted on the American psyche”
(James, “Obama and Romney Respond to Sandy with Election (and Katrina) in Mind”).