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Big Atlantic storm muddles last days of campaign

 President Barack Obama holds up a baby at a campaign event at Elm Street Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
 President Barack Obama lift up an infant from the crowd as he greets supporters at a campaign event at Elm Street Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2...
 President Barack Obama raise his glass of beer as he joins in a toast with local patrons during an unscheduled visit to the Common Man Restaurant, Sa...
 President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he arrives for a campaign event at Elm Street Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 in Nashua, N.H. (A...
 Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., greets supporters before speaking at a campaign stop at Young's Dairy Saturday, Oct. ...
 President Barack Obama reaches for his beer from the bar as he greets local patrons during an unscheduled visit to the Common Man Merrimack restauran...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, waves to supporters after addressing them during the Romney Ryan Vict...
 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign speech Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Land O' Lak...
 Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., center, introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, as Republican U.S. Senat...
 Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign appearance at the Lynchburg City Armory, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Lynchburg, Va. Biden said Repu...
 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lifts a child from the crowd after speaking to supporters during the Romney ...
 President Barack Obama hugs his daughter Sasha as he walks with Malia as they leave St. John's Episcopal Church to walk across Lafayette Park as they...
 U.S. Secret Service agents stand watch as Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate...
 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to speak to an overflow crowd of supporters and as he campaigns a...
 President Barack Obama, center, attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Respon...
 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., campaign at the C...
 President Barack Obama speaks as he attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Re...

Obama 2012

President Barack Obama holds up a baby at a campaign event at Elm Street Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Obama 2012

President Barack Obama lift up an infant from the crowd as he greets supporters at a campaign event at Elm Street Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2...

APTOPIX Obama 2012

President Barack Obama raise his glass of beer as he joins in a toast with local patrons during an unscheduled visit to the Common Man Restaurant, Sa...

APTOPIX Obama 2012

President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he arrives for a campaign event at Elm Street Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 in Nashua, N.H. (A...

Romney 2012

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., greets supporters before speaking at a campaign stop at Young's Dairy Saturday, Oct. ...

Obama 2012

President Barack Obama reaches for his beer from the bar as he greets local patrons during an unscheduled visit to the Common Man Merrimack restauran...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, waves to supporters after addressing them during the Romney Ryan Vict...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign speech Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Land O' Lak...

Romney 2012

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., center, introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, as Republican U.S. Senat...

Biden Virginia

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign appearance at the Lynchburg City Armory, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Lynchburg, Va. Biden said Repu...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lifts a child from the crowd after speaking to supporters during the Romney ...

Obama

President Barack Obama hugs his daughter Sasha as he walks with Malia as they leave St. John's Episcopal Church to walk across Lafayette Park as they...

Romney 2012

U.S. Secret Service agents stand watch as Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to speak to an overflow crowd of supporters and as he campaigns a...

Obama

President Barack Obama, center, attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Respon...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., campaign at the C...

Obama

President Barack Obama speaks as he attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Re...

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney overhauled campaign plans Sunday to avoid a massive hurricane churning up the U.S. Atlantic Coast nine days before Nov. 6 balloting in their extremely close race for the White House.
Obama moved up his departure for Florida to Sunday evening to dodge Hurricane Sandy which was forecast to begin whipping the Washington region with strong wind and drenching rain. The president also planned a Monday stop in Youngstown, Ohio, before returning to Washington to monitor the storm.
Because of the hurricane, the president's campaign said he was cancelling a campaign event in Virginia on Monday and in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Tuesday. Virginia and Colorado, like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada are the critical battleground states where the outcome of the election will be determined.
Obama met with federal emergency officials Sunday for an update on the storm's path and the danger it poses to the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions before speaking by phone to affected governors and mayors.
"My main message to everybody involved is that we have to take this seriously," Obama said. He urged people to "listen to your local officials."
An opportunity for Obama to demonstrate steady leadership in the face of crisis was offset by the risk that the federal government, as in past emergencies, could be faulted for an ineffective response, with the president left to take the fall.
Romney canceled three stops in up-for-grabs Virginia on Sunday, opting instead to campaign with running mate Paul Ryan in Ohio before heading Monday to Wisconsin, where Romney has chipped away at Obama's lead.
"Let's today when we get home put in our prayers the people who are in the East Coast in the wake of this big storm that's coming," Ryan said in Celina, Ohio.
Vice President Joe Biden canceled a Monday event in New Hampshire, and Romney's wife, Ann Romney, called off her Monday events. Campaign staffers planned to collect supplies for Virginia storm victims, and a Republican Party spokesman said Romney's campaign bus would be used for "relief efforts throughout the East Coast."
Heading into the final full week of the campaign, Democrats claim math is on the president's side. Republicans insist Romney's got the momentum in pursuit of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
The U.S. president is not chosen by the nationwide popular vote, but in state-by-state contests that allocate electoral votes. Each state gets one electoral vote for each of its seats in the House of Representatives, as determined by population. Every state has two seats in the Senate, guaranteeing an additional two electors. That means there are 538 electoral votes, including three for Washington, D.C., of which the winning candidate must have 50 percent, plus one, or 270.
Obama is ahead in states and Washington, D.C., representing 237 electoral votes; Romney has a comfortable lead in states with 191 electoral votes. The contest is too close to call in the nine decisive battleground states.
Voters in many states are already casting ballots early, and about one-third of the electorate will have voted before Election Day. Both candidates were pushing hard to get their supporters to the polls early to bank insurance votes before Election Day.
In addition to scrambling to tweak schedules, the campaigns were shifting manpower and pumping millions of more dollars into TV ads in the decisive battleground states. Deep-pocketed outside groups are paying for direct mail, automated phone calls and other get-out-the-vote efforts.
Total campaign spending has exceeded $2 billion, making this presidential race the most expensive in the history of electoral politics.
In the campaign's final stretch, Romney has struck a more moderate tone as he courts women and independents. In Florida on Saturday he pledged to "build bridges" with Democrats, a stark shift from the far-right conservative message he has used throughout the campaign.
But he did not let up on Obama, saying the president was "shrinking from the magnitude of the times" and advancing an agenda that lacks vision. Romney held three events in Florida on Saturday, timed to coincide with the first day of in-person early voting in a state that went for Obama four years ago and where 29 electoral votes are up for grabs this time.
Obama was in New Hampshire, where he accused Romney of making life more expensive for the middle class during his term as governor in neighboring Massachusetts. Romney maintains a vacation home complex in New Hampshire and has often taken time off to relax there in the course of the rigorous campaign.
"All he's offering is a big rerun of the same policies," Obama told a crowd of 8,500 gathered at an outdoor rally in Nashua on an unseasonably warm October day.
The president said Romney even raised fees in Massachusetts on obtaining a birth certificate, "which would have been expensive for me." It was a veiled reference to opponents of the president who have incorrectly said he was born outside the United States and demanded to see his birth certificate.
With each candidate claiming he is best able to revive the struggling economy, the latest jobs report due Friday from the Labor Department will shine an 11th-hour light on economic progress four days before most people vote. Last week, the most recent snapshot of economic growth showed the U.S. economy was growing but at a tepid rate.
While Romney and Obama are deadlocked in national polls, there were signs that the burst of momentum Romney achieved after the first presidential debate had waned in Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere.


Updated : 2021-08-02 17:53 GMT+08:00