President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney looked to console the nation and show leadership Tuesday after a devastating storm struck days ahead of election day.
Both candidates scaled back their White House campaigns as Sandy carved a path of destruction across the US eastern seaboard on Monday, with Obama returning to the White House to lead the disaster response.
Now they will have to tip-toe back onto the campaign trail, resuming their closely-fought battle for the White House and showing leadership in a time of crisis without being seen as exploiting suffering for political ends.
Romney, who cancelled some campaign appearances Monday, was set to attend a storm relief event Tuesday in Ohio, a key battleground state, at the same place where a campaign event had been announced before the storm.Obama can meanwhile harness the power of incumbency by directing relief efforts and addressing a storm-battered nation from its highest podium.
Coming so close to the neck-and-neck election on November 6, the historic storm threw closely planned campaign strategies into disarray as it threatened to dampen early voting, and drown out the candidates’ closing arguments.
Political scientists believe natural disasters can hurt an incumbent’s reelection chances as voters often blame whoever is in office for adversity.