Hurricane Sandy Scrambles Campaign Schedule, Romney Cancels Virginia Rallies
Mitt Romney has cancelled all of his Sunday rallies in Virginia as a precaution ahead of Hurricane Sandy moving closer to the East Coast, the campaign said Saturday.
The Republican presidential nominee will instead campaign in Ohio with running mate Paul Ryan.
Campaign officials told Fox News the decision was made after consulting with Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and emergency personnel, saying it was a "cautionary move to make sure emergency resources would not be diverted."
Romney was scheduled to appear first at a noon rally in Haymark, then a late afternoon event in Richmond, followed by an evening one in Virginia Beach.
Romney will join Ryan's bus tour first in Celina, Ohio. They will then campaign together in Findlay and Marion.
Sandy -- upgraded to a Hurricane again Saturday just hours after forecasters said it had weakened to a tropical storm -- was barreling north from the Caribbean and was expected to make landfall early Tuesday near the Delaware coast, then hit two winter weather systems as it moves inland, creating a hybrid monster storm.
Even if Sandy loses strength and makes landfall as something less than a hurricane, the combined storm was expected to bring misery to a huge section of the East. An 800-mile wide swath of the country could see 50 mph winds regardless of Sandy's strength.
Experts said the storm could be wider and stronger than Irene, which caused more than $15 billion in damage, and could rival the worst East Coast storm on record. On Saturday morning, forecasters said hurricane-force winds of 75 mph could be felt 100 miles away from the storm's center.
Up and down the coast, people were cautioned to be prepared for days without electricity. Jersey
Even at this late date in the campaign, neither the Romney nor Obama campaigns wanted to risk the appearance of putting politics ahead of public safety.
The president pressed on with a campaign trip Saturday to New Hampshire but held a conference call with administration officials about emergency preparations from aboard Air Force One.
Campaign spokesman Jennifer Psaki said the Obama team is continuing to promote early voting as something that provides flexibility for busy families but she added that "safety comes first and that's the case with early voting as well."
However, a rally Saturday with Vice President Joe Biden in Virginia Beach was cancelled. Officials said the decision was "taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure that all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm."
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