The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 30, 2012

Presidential race rained out even in sunny states



DENVER (AP) — Crista Laughlin was a mile high and dry, but Superstorm Sandy still kept the 40-year-old Obama campaign volunteer from walking precincts or working the phones.

Instead, she was huddled inside her suburban Denver home, watching storm coverage on television and thinking about her grandson in Norfolk, Va., in the hurricane's path. "I'm actually with the president on this one: The election will take care of itself in a week. What's on our minds is the people," said Laughlin, a 40-year-old volunteer in Aurora, Colo.

The presidential election was, well, rained out Monday — from the media centers and storm-battered battleground states of the Atlantic coast to the arid, high plains suburbia of Colorado. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan canceled three Colorado appearances scheduled for Tuesday as the Romney's campaign announced it was suspending political events featuring the top of its ticket. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama scrapped his own Tuesday appearances — including one in Colorado — and fled a Monday morning rally in Florida to make it back to the White House before the storm.

The president's campaign emailed supporters urging them to donate to charities that help storm victims. In Romney campaign offices, volunteers cut into their phone-banking and door-knocking time to stockpile canned goods to send to the disaster zone. The storm gave Obama a chance to appear presidential during a national emergency, and challenger Mitt Romney a potential opening should the federal government botch the response.

It also had a political impact thousands of miles away, giving people like Roger Draeger a break.

The 75-year-old funeral driver from Fort Atkinson, Wis., is a Romney supporter, but he was glad both candidates suspended their campaigns Monday. It was a blessed reprieve from the nonstop political debate that has dominated Wisconsin since Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill limiting collective bargaining for state workers last year, triggering a long series of recall elections.

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