News / USA

Mammoth Storm Impacts US Political Campaigning

President Barack Obama, center, attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
President Barack Obama, center, attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
Michael Bowman
— Huge swaths of the U.S. East Coast are being pelted by one of the biggest storms ever to approach the mainland, just more than a week before Americans vote for president and pick a new Congress. Hurricane Sandy has forced the cancellation of campaign events and could leave millions of Americans without power as they prepare to cast ballots.

​Hurricane Sandy is unleashing powerful winds and torrential rains from the Carolinas to New York. In coming days, the storm’s impact will likely be felt from the U.S. mid-Atlantic region into Canada. While U.S. airwaves are filled with political advertisements before the election, many voters have a more immediate concern.

“I am really nervous about this [storm]," a woman said. "I really am. I am cooking. I am thinking we are not going to eat for the next six days.”

Sandy is expected to join with two winter storm systems to form what forecasters have termed a hybrid "superstorm" spanning 1,200 kilometers, affecting up to 60-million residents.

President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, former Governor Mitt Romney, have cancelled campaign events in the critical battleground state of Virginia, where early voting is already underway.  Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner spoke on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday.

Watch President Obama discuss the approach of Hurricane Sandy


“We do not have as extensive an early voting in Virginia as other states.  The storm will throw a little bit of havoc into the race.  I was supposed to be with the president [Obama] and [former] President Clinton on Monday.  That rally has been cancelled.  But I think Virginians are ready to go to the polls.”

​Obama campaign officials say the president’s immediate focus is on the well-being of Americans in Sandy’s path. Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter appeared on ABC’s This Week program.

“Of course, we are all hoping that the hurricane does not have huge consequences for people’s safety," said Cutter. "We have taken every precaution that we possibly can.  The president took down a couple of [campaign] stops so he could monitor the situation.  So we just have to see how this goes.”

  • Waves crash into the pier in Ocean City, Maryland October 28, 2012.
  • A man with a small dog takes a photo of the storm waves from Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, New Jersey, October 28, 2012.
  • A car plows through a flooded street in the Ocean View area in Norfolk, VA., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
  • The boarded up windows on a store front in Margate N.J., read "Boo Sandy!", as the area prepares for the arrival of the superstorm, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
  • Travelers surround a flight monitor showing cancelled flights at LaGuardia airport in New York October 28, 2012.
  • Mike Strobel fills sand bags for his business, Mike's Carpet Connection, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Fenwick Island, Delaware.
  • Large waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash into Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 as the storm moves up the east coast.
  • President Barack Obama, center, attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
  • People ride the last train to Long Island as it departs Penn Station in New York October 28, 2012.

Recent weeks have seen Mitt Romney erase the president’s lead in the polls, both nationally and in many pivotal swing-states. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said the momentum is on Romney’s side.

“Polls are closing [narrowing], and the energy and enthusiasm is on our side this year,” he said.

That message was echoed by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who appeared on This Week.

“In Ohio, we [Republicans] clearly have gained ground," he said. "I doubt very much that Obama is going to carry Virginia.”

A loss in both states would, indeed, be a severe blow to President Obama’s re-election hopes. But Democrats say they are not panicking, arguing that Democrats are already voting early in record numbers.

“In many cases, we are beating Mitt Romney three-to-one in the early vote.  Our people are turning out, and they are turning out in very high numbers," said Stephanie Cutter. "We feel good about Ohio, we feel we are going to win it.”

What no one can predict is Sandy's impact on the desire and ability of tens of millions of Americans to vote, and just how, if at all, that will affect the outcome on November 6.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid