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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid