Romney Campaign Has Tricky Balancing Act On Storm

President Obama and Mitt Romney have both canceled their campaign events Tuesday. President Obama's role is clear, as he monitors the storm from the White House and oversees the federal response. It's a trickier balancing act for Mitt Romney.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

All this morning we'll be bringing you the latest on the massive storm Sandy that made landfall last night on the East Coast and is now making its way to the Midwest. President Obama and Mitt Romney both cancelled their campaign rallies scheduled for today. President Obama's role is clear as he monitors events from the White House and oversees the federal response.

It's a trickier balancing act for Mitt Romney, as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Mitt Romney was scheduled to have three rallies yesterday - in Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin. A few minutes before the Ohio event began, his campaign announced that the third one was off, along with Tuesday's scheduled rallies. Quote: "This is a time for the nation and its leader to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm's way." Then Romney took the podium in front of supporters waving signs that say: Cleveland Rocks.

MITT ROMNEY: And so our campaign is about real change from day one.

SHAPIRO: He gave his typical stump speech and after about 20 minutes he mentioned the storm.

ROMNEY: There are families in harm's way that will be hurt, either in their possessions or perhaps in something more severe. And so I'd like to ask you who are here today to think about making a contribution to the Red Cross or to another relief agency.

SHAPIRO: He encouraged people to drop off disaster relief supplies at Romney campaign offices. The Romney bus will deliver supplies in Virginia after the storm passes. Romney then flew to Iowa, where his second stop of the day went ahead as planned too.

ROMNEY: Now, this is quite a turnout for a sod farm, I got to tell you. This is - this is really amazing. You guys are...

SHAPIRO: Romney said he'd spoken with people at FEMA and the National Weather Service about the storm.

ROMNEY: It's going to affect a lot of families. It already has. And the damage will probably be significant and of course a lot of people will be out of power for a long time, and so hopefully your thoughts and prayers will join with mine and people across the country as you think about those folks that are in harm's way.

SHAPIRO: The rallies that Romney cancelled for today included one in Dayton, Ohio. Late yesterday, the campaign announced that he will still hold a public event in Dayton, but now it will focus on storm relief. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, travelling with the Romney campaign.

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