Will weather rain on Romney campaign?
- 29 October 2012
- From the section US & Canada
It wasn't supposed to start like this.
Right now, I'd hoped to be telling you about Mitt Romney's latest incarnation - the candidate of "big change" - strutting his stuff in Ohio.
I wanted to see if he'd shed the terrible stiffness that afflicted him through the primaries and beyond, a stiffness that made most observers wonder quite why he was putting himself through the torture of an election campaign.
But Hurricane Sandy - aka Frankenstorm - had already started knocking east coast flight schedules around when I turned up for my Ohio flight, and as devoted Twitter followers will have seen, I drove.
Which brought me to Cleveland too late to catch The Challenger. Tomorrow is another day.
The weather closed in as I went west; cloud shrouded the tops of trees in West Virginia; heavy mist hung over the highway in Pennsylvania. Steady rain drenched the darkness from the Ohio border.
Long lines of cherry-picker trucks thundered east, to help with what is expected to be a vast clean-up operation. On the radio, storm warnings were interspersed with the-end-is-nigh political advertising.
Listening to the attack ads run by the Obama campaign, you had to pinch yourself to remember all that stuff about hope and change from 2008, the words about red states and blue states and working with political enemies in the Grant Park victory speech.
Aside from the grim economy, the failure to forge a bipartisan polity ranks very high among Americans' gripes with the four years under President Obama. Many do not blame him; but they are bitterly disappointed all the same.
As for Frankenstorm - crazy storm, crazy name - the world and his wife are speculating on what it means for the race (see Politico's Mike Allen for a taste).
In one sense it freezes the campaign, as the national media focus on the potential devastation and then the clean-up. And it gives President Obama a chance to look, well, presidential.
But I'm not sure how many people will give him kudos for doing what is his job.
It must have hurt Mitt Romney to lose three events to the storm on Sunday in Virginia; the state is crucial to his electoral road to the White House.
The Washington Post gives Obama a narrow lead there.
But Mr Romney's enforced absence from the Atlantic coast has been turned by his team to his best advantage.
Because he is still out here in the Midwest, getting local media attention and rallying his supporters; he'll speak in Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin on Monday, pushing Republicans to redouble their efforts to get out the vote and persuade any waverers.
We'll see if the new-and-improved Mitt Romney sets pulses racing at the "Victory" rally then.