Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Campaign Resumes After Pause for Hurricane

At the Wall Street Journal, "Race Is Back On After Storm Hiatus":

Hurricane Sandy Voting

As the ruinous force of Sandy begins to diminish, the nominal pause it created in the presidential election campaign is about to fade away.

President Barack Obama continued his detour from the campaign trail Tuesday to focus on storm response. Republican Mitt Romney set aside a planned political rally in favor of a relief event to help storm victims. Both asked supporters to make donations to the Red Cross.

But a presidential campaign racing toward its conclusion next week is taking little more than a short break to acknowledge the storm's impact.

Even as Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama canceled political appearances Tuesday, the two campaigns escalated a heated exchange over Mr. Romney's suggestion that the president's auto bailout had benefited China, rather than U.S. autoworkers. With new TV ad buys, Mr. Romney and his allies also pushed to enlarge the set of competitive states to include Pennsylvania, long an elusive prize for the Republican nominees.

Mr. Romney will return to his schedule of campaign appearances Wednesday in hopes of regaining the momentum many polls showed he had built in recent weeks. Mr. Obama is scheduled to follow suit on Thursday, after more time in Washington and a tour of storm damage in New Jersey, as he juggles the political rewards and risks of focusing on the government disaster response.

Northeast states grappled with how to make sure voting next week isn't unduly affected by the storm. With widespread power outages, flooding and blocked roads, officials said they may have to move or consolidate some polling locations. Connecticut gave voters two extra days to register while Maryland said it may have to resort to paper ballots for some locations due to power outages, which could delay the vote count.
For Mr. Obama, the turn to disaster management paid a surprising political dividend when he won praise on Tuesday from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has been a scathing critic of his presidency.

"The president has been great," Mr. Christie, who represents Mr. Romney at campaign events, said on MSNBC. "The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit." It was one of several television interviews in which Mr. Christie praised Mr. Obama, who will tour New Jersey storm damage Wednesday with the governor.
He's been great, alright --- at never letting a crisis go to waste.