How the storm poses tests for Mitt Romney, President Obama, and elections authorities up and down the eastern seaboard
They don't call it an October surprise for nothing.
Just eight days before Election Day, both presidential campaigns have been forced to contend with Hurricane Sandy -- an entity with little regard for their political needs. National Journal breaks down how Sandy has thrown numerous wrenches into the well-laid plans of President Obama and Mitt Romney in the final week of their campaigns.
ON THE TRAIL. Obama, Romney, and their surrogates have canceled campaign events in the path of the storm, both to stay out of harm's way and to free up emergency responders. They have also canceled events on Monday and Tuesday in other parts of the country. A hasty return to the campaign trail in heavy-hit areas seems unlikely as the tickets try to avoid seeming overly political, disruptive, or insensitive to disaster. Both campaigns have also suspended fundraising emails in affected areas.
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FROZEN RACE. With millions of swing-state voters now preoccupied with the storm (and in the coming days, its aftermath), it's a safe bet they're devoting significantly less attention to the presidential race. That's not good news for the candidates, who have precious little time to persuade the small sliver of undecided voters and energize their supporters. It could be particularly detrimental to Romney, the beneficiary of momentum that has lifted him to better odds of winning in the last couple of weeks. The shutdown of the government in Washington could also delay the October jobless report, potential ammunition for Romney, now scheduled for release on Friday at 8:30 a.m.