Superstorm Sandy disrupts presidential campaigns | Obama surveys damage, Romney helps with relief efforts

October 30, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Romney's Ohio campaign turned into a storm relief effort as President Obama addressed the East Coast damage, which he plans to tour Wednesday.

There is a belief shared by many observers ---including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel--that the storm may have ended President Obama's re-election campaign a week earlier than expected.

In Washington, the president spread the Red Cross warning that the storm crisis is only beginning. He promised governors whose states were damaged that he would personally take their phone calls should problems occur during the federal relief effort.

"We are standing behind you, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet," Obama said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of Obama's most outspoken Republican critics, said he has spoken with the president several times.

"The presidential, himself, and FEMA have been outstanding with us so far," Christie said.

After leaving the campaign trail and returning to Washington, D.C., the president will remain at the White House at least through Wednesday.

Republican Mitt Romney also has cancelled his campaign events for the next 24 hours. He appeared Tuesday morning in Dayton, Ohio, at an event organized to collect relief supplies for storm victims:

"It's part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people in need," Romney said.

Mayor Emanuel--the former White House chief of staff-- said the president is doing the right thing by remaining in Washington. Emanuel suggested Obama's days of event-to-event campaigning might be over.

"There's no doubt that while advertising may go on, the actual day-to-day in a presidential campaign, which is so essential, is suspended while the country is focused on making sure that the communities and residents that are affected by this storm get back on their feet as quickly as possible," Emanuel said.

Without their ticket toppers on the road generating enthusiasm, presidential and other campaigns all over the country are emphasizing their get out the vote ground games for the final push.

In the northern suburbs, Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno--who campaigned for candidate Arie Friedman--isn't worried that Romney's low profile would impact Republican turnout.

"I don't think it will affect Republicans as much because, again, the polling consistently has shown that based on issues Republicans are highly, highly motivated to get out and vote," Radogno said.

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