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Superstorm causes upheaval in US presidential race

 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 applauds as he watches The Oak Ridge Boys perform as he campaign at the V...

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 applauds as he watches The Oak Ridge Boys perform as he campaign at the V...

A hurricane that threatened the U.S. east coast Monday was forcing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to change their campaign plans in the last full week of one of the closest presidential contests in recent U.S. history.
Obama cancelled campaigning in the key battleground state of Florida to hurry back to Washington and oversee the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, which was forecast to send a wall of water into the heavily urban Atlantic coast, from the capital to New York City.
Parts of four competitive states were in the hurricane's path: Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and New Hampshire. Those states and five others _ Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado _ that don't reliably vote Democrat or Republican will decide the close election.
The storm threatened to draw attention from both candidates' campaigns and hinder early voting before the Nov. 6 election. Voters in many states are already casting ballots early, and about one-third of the electorate will have voted before Election Day.
Obama continues to have a slight lead in the most contested states. 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, and two electoral votes for each of its two senators. That means there are 538 electoral votes, including three for Washington, D.C. The winning candidate must have 50 percent, plus one, or 270 votes.
Obama is ahead in states and Washington, D.C., representing 237 electoral votes; Romney has a comfortable lead in states with 191 electoral votes.
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.
The campaigns continued to pump millions of dollars into TV ads in the decisive battleground states. Total campaign spending has exceeded $2 billion, making this presidential race the most expensive in the history of electoral politics.
Obama canceled campaign stops Monday in Virginia and Tuesday in Colorado to monitor the storm. He also cancelled plans to campaign with former President Bill Clinton in Ohio, the swing state seen as key to winning the election.
While putting a severe limit on campaigning, the storm gave Obama the opportunity to demonstrate steady leadership in the face of crisis.
Romney canceled three stops in Virginia on Sunday, shifting operations to be with running mate Paul Ryan in Ohio before heading Monday to Wisconsin, where Romney has chipped away at Obama's lead.
Romney's campaign confirmed Sunday that he would not travel to New Hampshire on Tuesday as planned. The campaign had already canceled a Monday event in New Hampshire.
Vice President Joe Biden canceled a Monday event in New Hampshire. "The last thing the president and I want to do is get in the way of anything. The most important thing is health and safety," Biden said.


Updated : 2021-04-21 01:06 GMT+08:00