Hurricane to complicate final week of presidential campaigns

Holly Bailey & Olivier Knox
The Ticket

With the last full week of the presidential campaign approaching, Hurricane Sandy, a massive storm expected to strike the East Coast over the weekend, will complicate the candidates' best laid plans.

The impending storm is already causing problems for Mitt Romney's final week schedule. The Republican nominee planned to participate in a day-long swing through Virginia Sunday, taking him from Northern Virginia in the morning to the coast. But a Romney aide, who declined to be named discussing the candidate's schedule, said the campaign would cancel a planned Virginia Beach rally on Sunday night that could potentially put Romney and his entourage in the storm's path.

The campaign was still trying to figure out Romney's schedule as a result, but, tentatively, the GOP candidate was scheduled to head to the Midwest on Monday, campaigning in Iowa and Ohio.

The travel schedule for Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, may also be affected by the weather, but Romney's staff won't talk changes yet.

"We'll work out the logistics as the storm progresses," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for the Romney campaign who is traveling with Ryan.

President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Virginia Monday, and aides to the president say they are "closely monitoring the storm" before making any final determinations.

White House officials emphasized that Obama will get briefings and updates, and discuss efforts to respond to the storm with top aides no matter where he is. And his campaign said it, too, was taking precautions.

"The campaign is closely monitoring the storm and will take all necessary precautions to make sure our staff and volunteers are safe," said Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher by email.

"Our historic grassroots organization continues to run at full speed in Eastern battleground states to persuade undecided voters and get our supporters out to the polls between now and Election Day," Fetcher wrote.

The president was scheduled to travel to New Hampshire for a campaign event on Saturday. That trip appeared to be still on. It was not immediately clear whether Obama's planned Monday appearances alongside former president Bill Clinton in Orlando, Fla., Youngstown, Ohio and Prince William County, Virginia, will be affected.

On Tuesday, Obama was to campaign in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Green Bay, Wis.c, before spending the night in Ohio. His Wednesday schedule called for campaign appearances in Cincinnati and Akron, Ohio.

Chris Moody contributed reporting.