Unlike much of the East Coast, the presidential campaign hasn't been shut down by Hurricane Sandy. But the dynamics of the race have changed significantly, with President Obama in crisis mode in Washington and Mitt Romney canceling events "out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy." Still, both campaigns remain active: Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden are stumping for the president, while Romney and Paul Ryan are holding hurricane-relief events, Politico reports.
Romney's challenge is "to strike the right note to not look too political but to also (be) empathetic with the victims," says a George HW Bush speechwriter. And Obama risks attacks if the government's response is too weak, but may not get praise if things go smoothly. But even in the aftermath of this natural "October surprise," the campaigns may remain more civil, a presidential biographer tells the AP. "When the nation's largest city and even its capital are endangered, when so many people are in peril and face deprivation," he notes, "it's hard to get back to arguing over taxes." Even Chris Christie struck a milder note, tweeting his thanks to Obama for his help. Meanwhile, Gallup finds that neither candidate has a clear lead after 15% of registered voters' ballots have been cast in early voting, Politico reports.