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Sandy sidelines Obama; Biden to join Clinton here

Published: Mon, October 29, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

Romney tries to widen his electoral map


President Barack Obama speaks to the media about Hurricane Sandy at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington on Sunday. Obama will forgo appearing with former President Bill Clinton at the Covelli Centre today. Vice President Joe Biden will join Clinton for the campaign event.

Staff/wire report


President Barack Obama will not attend today’s campaign rally at the Covelli Centre, opting instead to monitor Hurricane Sandy, which is currently forecast to make landfall along the Eastern Seaboard later today.

Vice President Joe Biden instead will appear with former President Bill Clinton at today’s event, for which about 6,000 tickets were distributed Friday. Times for the rally were altered slightly by the Obama campaign Sunday night. Doors to the arena now will open at 2 p.m. today, with the rally starting about 3:30.

“An unprecedented hurricane is hitting the East Coast, and the president is still the leader of the country,” said Dave Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, after learning of Obama’s change in plans. “He needs to be there to manage FEMA.”

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff for Obama, was supposed to be downtown to campaign for the president at the Covelli Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Emanuel’s appearance was canceled because of a scheduling conflict, organizers said.

Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney frantically sought Sunday to close the deal with voters with precious few days left in an incredibly close race as this year’s October surprise — an unprecedented storm menacing the East Coast — wreaked havoc on their best-laid plans.

Ever mindful of his narrow path to the requisite 270 electoral votes, Romney looked to expand his map, weighing an intensified effort in traditionally left-leaning Minnesota. Obama sought to defend historically Democratic turf as the race tightened heading into the final week.

Wary of being seen as putting their political pursuits ahead of public safety, the two White House hopefuls reshuffled their campaign plans as the storm approached. Both candidates were loath to forfeit face time with voters in battleground states such as Virginia that are likely to be afflicted when Hurricane Sandy, a winter storm and a cold front collide to form a freak hybrid storm.

“The storm will throw havoc into the race,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Obama, preparing to depart for Florida on Sunday, a day early to beat the storm, got an update from disaster relief officials before speaking by phone to affected governors and mayors.

“Anything they need, we will be there,” Obama said. “And we are going to cut through red tape. We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules. We want to make sure that we are anticipating and leaning forward.”

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.

Obama planned to return to Ohio on Wednesday with stops in Cincinnati and Akron, followed by a Thursday swing through Springfield, Ohio, Boulder, Colo., and Las Vegas.

Romney nixed three stops in up-for-grabs Virginia on Sunday, opting instead to campaign with running mate Paul Ryan in Ohio before heading today to Wisconsin, where Romney has chipped away at Obama’s lead.

“I know that right now some people in the country are a little nervous about a storm about to hit the coast, and our thoughts and prayers are with people who will find themselves in harm’s way,” Romney told several hundred supporters crowded into a field house at the University of Findlay, the second of three Sunday rallies.

Romney’s campaign confirmed Sunday that he would not travel to New Hampshire on Tuesday as planned. The campaign already canceled a Monday event in New Hampshire featuring Romney’s wife, Ann. Advisers say further travel changes are likely as they monitor the storm’s progress.

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.

Ryan planned to leave Ohio at midday for three stops in Florida. His Tuesday schedule, however, shifted him to stops in Colorado instead of Virginia.

The prospect that bad weather could hinder early voting and get-out-the-vote efforts is vexing to both Obama and Romney.

“Obviously, we want unfettered access to the polls, because we think the more people that come out, the better we’re going to do,” said David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama’s campaign. “To the extent that it makes it harder, that’s a source of concern.”

In Virginia, one of the most competitive states in the race, election officials eased absentee voting requirements for those affected by the storm.

“The state board of elections is already planning for extended hours in advance for absentee voting, and it’s now a priority, moved up to the same level as hospitals and police stations to have power restored,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell, a top Romney ally.

Bringing up a safety concern, Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s campaign urged supporters to remove their political yard signs. “Due to the potential for strong winds in this storm, the last thing we want is for yard signs to become projectiles,” said campaign manager Mike Henry.

Getting voters to the polls — whether early or on Election Day — is one of the few elements of the race still in the candidates’ control. Although Romney and Obama are in a close contest for the popular vote, the president continues to have the upper hand in the most contested states.

Reince Priebus, the GOP chairman, pointed to recent gains for Romney that have lifted him to a virtual tie in most national polls. “The challenger always wins in a tie race,” he said.

With time running out, both campaigns appeared to be fine-tuning their map of the states where they’re campaigning the hardest.

A senior Republican official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose private deliberations, said Sunday that the Romney team was seriously discussing sending Romney, Ryan or both to Minnesota during the final week. The state hasn’t gone Republican in the presidential race since 1972, but recent polling shows a tighter race there than most anticipated.

In a flashback to the 2008 race, Obama’s campaign announced that Biden will campaign Thursday in Pennsylvania, reprising a visit to his hometown of Scranton that he made during the final week four years ago. Pennsylvania, too, has been Democratic territory in recent years, but Romney has continued to contest the state with an advertising assist from the Republican Party.


1rickking123(292 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

i wonder what inappropriate things good ol Joe will say.

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2greene(167 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

well played, rickking.

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3harleydog(209 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

wonder why he wasn't monitoring libya instead of campaigning in vegas?

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4VindyPost(436 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

VP Biden and Former President Clinton together are gonna Rock this Rally...Big Time at Covelli!
The two convey leadership, are well-seasoned, well prepared. Solid. Firm.
It's gonna be Loud...Very Loud!!!

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5Knightcap(699 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

"I did not have sexual relations with that women"

" I'll bring that Pentagon Payroll Center here for your support"


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6chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

MSNBC just reported that Pres. Obama and Clinton will be doing a rally in Florida today.

i guess he doesn't start representing the country until mid-afternoon.

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7AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Seems Mr Betras is a realist. In the third paragraph, he is quoted as having said "... the president is still the leader of the country." If he really believed Mr Obama would win re-election, the attorney in him would be precise and not use "still." Rather, "the president is the leader of the country." Yep, "still" president -- until noon on January 20.

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8lee(544 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

He did not watch the ambassador being killed but he is going to watch the hurricane? ya right

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9newsmaker1(127 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Obama hiding in Florida, told Bill, you can use my telepromptor's.

Rahm--Sorry, can't make Youngstown

Clinton: Maybe he'll talk about signing NAFTA and sending 600,000 American Union jobs to Mexico, maybe not.

Tim Ryan--he'll be in tears, his Boy King isn't coming....

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10Lesthanzero(35 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The Perjurer and The Plagiarist! Together on one stage!

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11nascar74(43 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Just off the wire: Clinton to be at the Babylon in Austintown at 8pm for a rally. Biden to be at the Funny Farm Comedy Club in Mojo's at 10pm.

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12dmacker(274 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I finally applaud President for recognizing his position as leader of the country and responding appropriately to an urgent matter that requires his attention. It's about time.
Billy and Joe will read his teleprompters and do just fine echoing the the party line of hoping for more change this time around.

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13walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

If you have a ticket and attend, please where some Ohio State apparel so VP Biden knows what he is in. And, if you are a well-proportioned female, the ex-president's staff encourages you to wear something clinging, sexy and uncomplicated.

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14uselesseater(229 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Great video there @DelphiRetiree. Go get em!

I say you protest outside the shin dig at Covelli.

How many tickets were handed out for today's event?

National media should be there. Time to drive the message that this region isn't a bunch of dumb Democrats who just vote what they always have, because their momma and papa voted big D in 1950.

Can't wait to see the legions of Obama phones and the give me culture in full force.

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15suefull(22 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

It's the Pres. job to put the people first. Will he go to bed on this one like he did with Benghazi????

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16greene(167 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Cue the Twilight Zone music, saddad is thinking again.

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17Silence_Dogood(1341 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

the correct link is www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHsmqhas_1c

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18James_S(268 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Check to see if Clinton's nose has grown any longer and if it's bending further to the left for me- OK?:^)

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19Dagwood(111 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

"auto-bailout", "GM", "auto-bailout", "blue collar", Romney is a Bazillionaire liar, thief, hates the poor", "Auto-bailout", Blue Collar town", Romney hates middle America", "GM", Auto-baliout", "Romney hates cars", "Youngstown is blue collar", "GM", "Romney hates the Canfield Fair, Antones and Wedgewood Pizza", "auto-bailout", "GM", "Romney is Bush", "Blue Collar".

Thanks for coming folks see ya on 11/6.

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20Bill1776(20 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

A VOTE FOR OBAMA IS A VOTE AGAINST GOD: Billy Graham said "I will do whatever I can to help the GOP”. It was good to see Billy Graham take a stand against the forces of evil that are running our country. May God bless Billy Graham and may God give him a long, long life. We sure could use more like him!

When it comes to morals Obama is about as low as you can get! When he was in the Illinois State Senate, he voted to deny basic constitutional protections to babies born alive from failed abortions. Not once, but four times. Is this the kind of leadership that will move us forward? Leadership that would discard the least and the weakest among us?

Obama came out for same sex marriages, homosexuals in the military and had a homosexual sodomite party in the white house. He is turning our country into Sodom and Gomorrah! God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah therefore a vote for Obama is a vote against God.

Christ used the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as dramatic examples of God’s wrath (Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12, and Luke 17:29). Throughout the Old Testament, prophets described these cities as being notorious for the practice of homosexuality. (Genesis 18:20, Genesis 19:4-5, Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:46.

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21cambridge(3013 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

OK I'm convinced.

Obama 2012!

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22AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Those blue states including Mr Christie in NJ will hope Obama is there for them.


Mitt Romney In GOP Debate: Shut Down Federal Disaster Agency, Send Responsibility To The States

During a CNN debate at the height of the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked, in the context of the Joplin disaster and FEMA's cash crunch, whether the agency should be shuttered so that states can individually take over responsibility for disaster response.

"Absolutely," he said. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?"

"Including disaster relief, though?" debate moderator John King asked Romney.

"We cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids," Romney replied. "It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all." The clip was flagged by HuffPost blogger Eric Zuesse.

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