Stormy Weather Politics
On the heels of Superstorm Sandy, a minor whirlwind has been unleashed over how its aftermath may affect the remaining days of the presidential campaign. How do the nominees weather this uncertain period without seeming to take political advantage of it and without backing off and losing valuable, shrinking campaign time?
The immediate response was simple and predictable. President Obama canceled an event in
For Obama, the decision was a no-brainer. He could segue into his role as concerned commander in chief drawing an easy contrast with former President
For Romney, he could do no less by getting off the trail. However, in so doing, he reverted to a candidate with no role in dealing with the storm crisis, other than saying he had checked in with the
Bad weather always brings unexpected consequences, and for Romney it dredged up a comment he made in a
"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," he said, in an obvious appeal to his party's right-wing base. "And if you can go further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."
Romney placed his answer in the context of deficit reduction, saying that, in light of the huge federal debt, "we should take all of what we're doing at the federal level" and ask "what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do."
The moderator, indicating incredulity, asked: "Including disaster relief, though?" Romney, in "severely conservative" mode, replied it was "simply immoral" to "rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids."
With Sandy roaring up the
That, of course, is the role
His year-old comment suggesting dumping the federal role in disaster relief on the states will sorely tempt the Obama campaign to jump all over Romney for making it. But the president will be better served right now to focuse on his own role in overseeing efforts to deal with Sandy's aftermath, leaving to the news media to comment, which is already happening, here and elsewhere.
In the loss of a day or two of campaigning, both nominees will do well to put the concerns of Americans imperiled by Sandy first -- or at least to give the clear impression of doing so. Obama already has an advantage in donning his presidential hat and keeping it on, leaving his vaunted campaign get-out-the-vote operation to do its job under heightened difficulties, as Romney's own ground game strives to do the same.
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Stormy Weather Politics | Politics
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