The Politics of Disaster

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 2:41pm

President Obama oversees Sandy relief; Mitt Romney works to raise Red Cross funds.

Will Superstorm Sandy impact next week's election?

Polling places might be moved and absentee voting deadlines might be pushed back.

Partisanship is taking a back seat, and President Obama gets to show he's in charge of a hurricane response that's winning praise.

The president spent a second day off the campaign trail, in the situation room, coordinating relief.

Mr. Obama also went to Red Cross headquarters to reassure the suffering that FEMA and his other agencies are helping as quickly as possible.

"My message to the federal government: no bureaucracy, no red tape. Get resources where they're needed as fast possible, as hard as possible and for the duration," the president said.

His message to governors is: Call him personally.

Staunch Romney supporter, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has.

"And the president has been outstanding in this, and Craig Fugate and the folks at FEMA have been excellent," Christie said Tuesday.

The FEMA director looked ahead to next Tuesday, offering federal assistance, generators and other supplies to states where polling places might still lack power.

Mitt Romney was in Ohio, not talking issues, but instead collecting cans.

Romney backers brought food for New Jersey.

"It's part of the American spirit, the American way to give to people who are in need," Romney told them.

Mr. Romney argued in a primary debate for disaster relief to be shifted to states, and even non-government charities.

Would he kill the Federal Emergency Management Agency?

He repeatedly refused to answer that question Tuesday.

A Romney spokesman said the former governor believes states are in the best position to direct assistance from the federal government and FEMA.

On Wednesday President Obama joins Governor Christie for a tour of New Jersey damage, political opponents brought together by the super storm.

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