Momentum may be slipping back to Obama in final days
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was about to go on stage in Ohio on Monday when he decided to abruptly shift the tone of his campaign given the potentially lethal impact of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.
With the storm bearing down, Romney canceled campaign events scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida. Running mate Paul Ryan and Romneys wife, Ann, also stepped back from campaigning.
Romney instead adopted a feel-your-pain stance, taking time to talk up Americans hardy can-do spirit in the face of uncertain odds. He urged people to donate to the Red Cross.
After deliberating by conference call with senior advisers - some of them travelling with Ryan and Ann Romney in several states - it was an easy call to make, aides said.
We cancelled the events out of sensitivity for the millions of people facing hardship because of the hurricane, said senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.
The hurricane was the latest twist in Romneys second White House bid. Before taking on President Barack Obama in the general election campaign, Romney spent months in a bruising Republican primary fight in which he was rarely in the lead until near the end.
The former governor of Massachusetts appeared to have the momentum in the final lap of the presidential race, climbing in polls after recovering from the September release of a secretly recorded video in which he said 47 percent of Americans were dependent on government help.
Now, Romneys campaign luster is likely to dim for a couple of days as Obama wins media attention as the nations chief executive managing a crisis.
The Republicans aides said they had little choice but to put off campaigning given the storms potential impact. They did not think Sandy would complicate the campaigns messaging over the next few days.