Obama's aides considered moving the Orlando event even earlier Monday morning but were told that would put Air Force One back too late to land safely. Nearly all commercial flights had already been canceled in the Washington area as heavy rains soaked the capital ahead of Sandy's expected landfall Monday night.
With eight days before Election Day, neither campaign could afford to fully shut down its political activity in a race that remains tight. Four critical election states are affected by the storm — North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire — but there was still unthreatened ground to cover across the rest of the country.
While the impact of the storm had yet to be seen, at the very least it was a distraction as both sides were looking to make their final appeals and millions of ballots were already being cast in early voting. It threatened to dilute Romney's efforts to close the deal with voters while giving Obama a platform to show leadership in the time of crisis. And power outages could end up cutting off their message in television ads and automatic phone calls in the eastern swing states.
Romney was staying far from campaign battlegrounds in the path of the storm, and concentrating on interior states seen increasingly as critical to his chances at the presidency. But another type of storm was awaiting him in Ohio.
The United Auto Workers announced recently a deal with Ford that promises to create 600 new jobs in nearby Brook Park, and keep 1,800 jobs in Avon Lake. The Avon Lake jobs are the product of Ford moving its commercial truck business from Mexico to Ohio.
The development not only gives Obama a chance to stoke his call for returning jobs to the U.S. from overseas, but reminds voters in auto-heavy Ohio of the auto bailout that Romney opposed.