US President Barack Obama has much to gain – and a lot more to lose – in his response to "super storm" Sandy, currently battering the US East Coast. Political analyst Larry Sabato tells FRANCE 24 what’s at stake.
"Super storm" Sandy, currently wreaking havoc across the East Coast of the USA, is blowing an uncomfortable wind of uncertainty into the US presidential campaign that threatens incumbent Barack Obama more than his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, says political analyst Larry Sabato.
And while the US authorities will be doing their utmost to deal with the social and economic fallout of such an unpredictable event, all eyes will be on the two candidates’ reactions.
Obama, who was due in Florida, a key swing state, on Monday, has returned to Washington to coordinate the response, while former Democrat President Bill Clinton has stepped into his campaigning shoes and will represent the president at a meeting in Orlando.
Romney meanwhile has cancelled campaign rallies in New Hampshire and Virginia, arriving instead in Ohio on Sunday, another vital swing state, and is due in battleground states Iowa and Wisconsin in the coming days.
Larry Sabato, head of University of Virgina’s Center for Politics, tells FRANCE 24 what’s at stake for the two candidates.
FRANCE 24: How could super storm Sandy impact President Obama's chances?
Larry Sabato: It’s the classic double-edged sword of governing. Obama can assume a take-charge posture as the incumbent president but he’s also responsible for all foul-ups in disaster relief. And you don’t want dissatisfied, surly people voting if you’re the incumbent. It all depends on how many people are truly affected in the aftermath and how quickly their needs can be met. My assumption is that the Obama team understands the stakes and is gearing up a massive rescue and relief effort, to the extent possible.
F24: What about Romney? How does this impact him in states he needs? Will his reaction be closely watched?
LS: For Romney, he’s left on the sidelines, expressing sympathy for victims, but he can make gestures such as encouraging contributions to disaster agencies. Of course, he benefits from lingering problems.
F24: What's the worst-case scenario for either of these candidates?
LS: For Obama, the worst-case scenario is that the lingering effects of the storm in Virginia hamper his ground game, helping Romney win a state where the momentum has already been trending the Republican’s way.
In pictures: 'SUPER STORM' Sandy batters US East Coast
Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia. Posted by DelRayPatch (Instagram).
Flooding in Brooklyn, New York City. Posted by @HurricanePhotos (Twitter).
Hoboken Subway Station, New Jersey (AFP).
View of Manhattan, New York City from Brooklyn (photo by Margot Pascal).
Fire officers in New York City brave the floodwater. Posted by @newyorkcityliz (Instagram).
Floods swallow a car in Zone B, New York City. Posted by @chrisconnolly (Twitter).
FDR Parkway, New York City. Posted by @YourAnonNews (Twitter).
An apartment facade is torn off in Chelsea, New York City. Posted by @MegRobertson (Twitter).
Firefighters tackle a large blaze in the Breezy Point neighbourhood of Queens, New York City (screenshot, NBC New York).
Rushing floodwater in the Financial District, Manhattan (Andrew Burton/ Getty Images/ AFP).
NYPD forces are almost the only customers in a New York City café. Posted by Jean-Bernard Cadier, BFMTV correspondent (@jbcadier, Twitter).
A CNN reporter knee-deep in floodwater. Screengrab posted by @BrunoBalmokoun (Twitter).
Power outage in Manhattan, New York City (Getty Images/AFP).
Rainbow over Williamsburg, Brooklyn, morning after Hurricane Sandy hit New York (photo by Margot Pascal).
Do you live on the East Coast of the US? Is Sandy heading your way or have you already been affected by it? FRANCE 24 is looking for images of the storm.
Please feel free to send your photos, name and a brief description of your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Date created : 2012-10-29