Sandy steals spotlight from Romney

 

Mitt Romney: "Make the difference you can"

Exactly a week away from election day, and campaigning is on pause.

The candidates themselves, at least, are restraining themselves from overt politicking - but the calculation for each man is very different.

The White House says that the president was updated through the night as Hurricane Sandy carved its way up the coast - signing two declarations of disaster.

You can look at the politics of this positively or negatively. He really would be in trouble if people thought he was ignoring a major disaster to save his political career, travelling to swing states to campaign instead of staying in the White House.

But leading a country at a time of crisis, speaking for and to America is the very essence of what being a president is all about. So, if he does it well, it might help on the margins.

He has earned praise from one leading Republican, the governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie, usually a severe critic, said the president had been outstanding and deserved great credit for cutting through red tape and getting help to his state.

Mitt Romney cannot really compete with that.

President Obama: "The storm is not yet over"

But he showed good taste by converting an Ohio rally into a storm relief event.

Supporters were encouraged to bring along canned food and essential supplies to help those trapped.

As I am writing this, hurtling down the motorway to Washington (no, I'm not actually driving), I haven't seen the event. Reports suggest it was slightly weird but, overall, got the tone right.

There was no politics in Mr Romney's short speech.

Instead, he said: "I appreciate the fact that people in Dayton got up this morning. Some went to the grocery store, I see, and picked up a couple of things that these families will need, and I appreciate your generosity.

"It's part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people who are in need, and your generosity this morning touches my heart."

But the tactics of respect for the storm and its victims are going to diverge. Mitt Romney risks being squeezed out of the debate and is resuming campaigning tomorrow.

The president will not be campaigning. Being seen to be doing his job, and doing it well, is worth a thousand rallies.

 
Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 429.

    October 31, 2012 by Andrew Dugan and Frank Newport
    A majority of Americans continue to believe that Democratic President Barack Obama will win re-election Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, by 54% to 34%. These views are roughly similar to where they were in May and August, although slightly more Americans now do not have an opinion either way.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 428.

    By praising the efforts of Barrack Obama and his administration what Governor Chris Christie was actually doing was putting the final nail into Mitt Romney's coffin and announcing that he, Christie, was running for the Presidency in 2016.

    Can't do that with a Republican incumbent!

    That's what we like to call " Bi-Partisan Support."

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 427.

    Romney said: "It's part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people who are in need, and your generosity this morning touches my heart."
    arent his policies, no education for the poor (tuition fees), more expensive health care for the sick (insurance), less international aid, more attacks on third world countries, more tax breaks for the rich, and no votes to the poor

    two faced ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 426.

    Natural disasters are always handled by Governors and Mayor's. The President makes declarations that free up funds etc. That is not a criticism of the President either. If Gov. Christie says he did a good job, then you know he must have played this role very well. But it is hardly something to take a bow for either, or capitalize on in Nevada and Colorado tomorrow...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 425.

    423.A_from_Oxford ,
    It's not supposed to replace normal disaster aid but to enhance.Govt aid is appreciated in natural disasters, but private efforts are welcomed, too & sometimes are more efficiently administered.

 

Comments 5 of 429

 

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