How Sandy Could Impact the Presidential Election - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

How Sandy Could Impact the Presidential Election

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While hurricane Sandy was messing up the east coast, it was also wreaking havoc in the presidential race in what could turn out to be the October surprise.

With homes underwater, citizens out of juice and everyone wondering when their lives will return to normal, the last thing they want is for President Obama or Governor Romney to exploit this national disaster for their own political gain.  To do so would be political suicide.  Yet, with all due respect to the victims,  politics is in play sub rosa while a third of the nation is under water.

Of the two, it's the president holding the best cards.  At a time when he wants to look presidential, this storm gives him the chance.

Mr. Romney does not get the same center stage treatment because he's not in charge. 

If you think politics and hurricanes don't mix, just ask former President George W. Bush who got a black eye for his handling, or non-handling of hurricane Katrina years ago.

This hurricane, of course, allows the president to underscore one of the major differences with his opponent over the role of government. Mr. Obama can marshal the federal government to help those in need.

Mr. Romney on the other hand was quoted during a primary debate that he would "absolutely" shut down FEMA, the federal disaster agency, adding "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."

Imagine the blow back if he repeated that sentiment in the wake of this storm?  Which is why when reporters this week asked him he was still going to eliminate FEMA, he dove for the high grass refusing to say anything.  His campaign, however, did say the states should be in charge of emergency management with "help from the federal government and FEMA."

The president, given a chance to assess the impact this will have on the election, joined his opponent in the tall grass as he refused to acknowledge any political implications. It was all about helping the citizens.

And when his campaign sent out an email blast, it was not to boast how well the president was doing, but to urge "thoughts and prayers" for the affected by the storm. 

The Obama campaign will be content to let the president's actions speak louder than any words.  He's talked with mayors, with the utilities, and was on the ground to tour the devastation while Mr. Romney was left to package food stuffs for the needy while enduring the GOP governor of New Jersey praising President Obama for his role in all this.

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