Hurricane Sandy: Growing seriousness of storm threat

President Obama boards flight to return from Orlando

President Obama was in Florida overnight, but he has pulled out of Monday's planned event in the state with former President Bill Clinton.

He's going straight back to the White House to monitor the course of Hurricane Sandy owing to "deteriorating weather conditions in the Washington area".

It may be simply that he doesn't want to get stranded.

But it may also be that he thought it would sound inappropriate to make a campaign speech which would have to have attacked his opponent and sounded at least a little upbeat.

It is a sign of the growing seriousness of the threat. All yesterday the president's plans changed, first cancelling events, then putting them back in the programme, then cancelling them again.

While no-one really knows whether this storm will create chaos or full-scale national catastrophe, the political effects are already being felt.

Spotlight on Obama

In one sense it stops, freezes, the campaign at this point. The candidates won't be talking and if they were, the media wouldn't be spending much time reporting what they said.

But in another sense it puts the president, the leader of the country, centre stage. It's an unequal platform, though, and Mitt Romney may find himself pushed off it while the drama unfolds.

The spotlight is on Mr Obama. The president gets to display his mettle, to show what sort of a leader he is.

He is also the number one target if the government reaction is slow, inadequate or simply, dangerously, if there is suffering that they can't relieve.

We are all nervous about this storm. We all hope there will be no loss of life. But for the two men vying for the White House, it may spell the difference between political survival and extinction.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

Could Greece prompt wholesale change in Europe?

The triumph of Syriza in Greece could lead to renewed tensions - and widespread political change - across Europe, says Mark Mardell.

Read full article


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    @52. BluesBerry
    Please tell me you are joking
    You actually think that the storm was redirected at the US for political gain.

    And you're posting this on the BBC ?

    Seriously ..

    There are fairies at the bottom of my garden

    Education is wonderful thing you know
    It allows for a skeptical and reasoned look at life unlike indoctrination which seems to produce only the Gullible

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    54. Lou Cypher
    People across the pond are just that, across the pond and not here.

    But people across the pond were you point in the previous post.
    I thought you needed clarification as why they saw things that way as you didn't seem to know.
    As for Clinton Bernake & Panetta resigning if the Pres is re Elected.
    A truly laughable slant on reality

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    People across the pond are just that, across the pond and not here. Yes, Obama was not a "Bush"; was young promising hope & change, & had a Kennedyesque aura about him. But since 2008 all of that has changed. Even his wide-eyed Independent supporters of '08 have jumped ship. Secretaries Clinton, Bernanke, & Panetta have all stated they will resign if Obama gets reelected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    @52. I agree, however Haarp could also be being used by other countries on the U.S.
    Also I thought the U.S. had technology for many years now that can deal with Hurricanes to stop or weaken them significantly, why isn't it being used ??
    I am concerned about the nuclear power stations, it seems back up power systems for anything these days just don't seem to work when needed. It's ridiculous !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    I don't know for sure; no one can know for sure, but it seems to me that this storm acts in Obama's favor in that he gets to look Presidential while Romney just sort of disappears.
    I have to wonder about HAARP - weather manipulation - the perfect storm at the perfect time for Obama - planned?

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    "The worse the storm gets the more Obama gets to look Presidential"

    So far (Tuesday morning) only gov. Christie and Mayor Bloomberg look like a presidential material.

    [now it's W. Virginia's governor's turn.]

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    @46. Lou Cypher

    I think you may be confusing disbelief (that Romney could get actually get elected) and relief (that Obama Undid a lot of Global damage from 'W' ) with the reaction of those across the pond
    W could never have been elected there (we have our own problems of corse) but that simply would be unthinkable.
    Then 'W' got re Elected
    So the UK is in some state of Disbelief about Nov 6

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    41. Northumbrian

    Romney has a strong base in the mid-West unaffected by the storm. The "blue states" are more in its track

    It is more complex than that
    The blue stay will likely stay blue anyway as rural areas in those are going to be worst hit
    What it may hit the most is the national polling numbers Fewer Dems reachable
    Could also change the Pop vote But less so for the Elec College numbers

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    I realize that in a no-holds-barred election campaign virtually anything goes, but no one should attempt to use the storm now ravaging the eastern corridor of the U.S. to gain political advantage. They will, of course, but they shouldn't. Ahh, politics . . . does get in the way of real life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    @Lou Cypher

    It does seem tempting to see the hand the Almighty in the timing of this "perfect" storm (even down to the near Halloween timing). But I do wish he would be a little clearer about what it's trying to tell us.

    And yes, that was a joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    It has been an educational experience to see how much the UK et al, has idealized Obama making a world messianic figure out of him. Many of the comments here have run the gamut from hailing him as the savior of the US to hailing him as the savior of the modern world. And then how the world will come to an end if Romney is elected POTUS. Guess we should just @#$% God & Trust in Obama.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Northumbrian (43),


    How does this show that climate change is "daft"? …”

    I think he said that in jest.

    “… In any case, it doesn't disprove climate change.”

    Of course not. Climate Change is well documented, and the human contribution to it is being more firmly established with each peer-reviewed paper.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Northumbrian (42),

    "What happens if the actual mechanics of the election are disrupted? ..."

    Given the high stakes involved, I suspect extraordinary means would be taken to ensure the opportunity to vote is provided.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.


    How does this show that climate change is "daft"?

    It might have little or nothing to do with climate change. Some things (like tsunamis) are largely independent on macro atmospheric climate.

    Some things, like a rise in ocean temperature, are very much connected to CC.

    How much any one event is affected we can't tell yet.

    In any case, it doesn't disprove climate change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    What happens if the actual mechanics of the election are disrupted? Suppose, for example, that polling stations are washed out across an entire district? Or the electricity supply becomes erratic?

    What happens if people have been evacuated and can't get back to their home districts and can't make a trek to vote in the middle of domestic disaster?

    Or doesn't it work like that?


  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Looking at the election, I think this storm is bad news for Obama. His chances have always depended on getting the vote out - a high turnout and he wins, and low turnout and he loses.

    Romney has a strong base in the mid-West - unaffected by the storm. The "blue states" are more in its track; the dispossessed will have their lives disrupted disproportionately and make it harder for them to vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Just goes to show how daft all this global warming nonsense is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    8 Curt Carpenter

    ‘Has Romney given the speech yet where he says...

    "I've been in the private sector, and I know how to STOP STORMS!’

    Genuine COL! (Chuckled Out Loud)

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    25.John B
    Pleasently surprized the bookmakers make Obama 1/3 on. All the polls except one make Romney frontrunner now.
    No hurricane October surprise please, if Romney wins I disown America as one of our colonies ;)"
    Most polls show a close race but the enthusiasm is more on the Romney side-in my biased opinion.
    The colony thing ended a few centuries ago... :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    AndreaNY (18),

    "... For his dwindling lead in the poll, these seem popular now ..."

    "his dwindling lead in the poll" Pardon me?


Page 1 of 3



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.