As emergency response teams rushed to victims in need, Republican nominee Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail in Dayton, Ohio, stopping at a high school gymnasium for a "storm relief event." While the Massachusetts governor's rally focused largely on donations and prayers, it also showed the darker side of American politics, one neither party would like to admit: There's no rest for the weary in a presidential election.
Ads for President Obama ran as scheduled in Ohio, as did ads for Governor Romney in PA, but both campaigns seemed to take the "high road" when asked where their focus was. "A lot of people are hurting this morning," said Governor Romney, spoken with a somber tone that seemed to inflect his wisdom in a situation he's never had to face, "They were hurting last night, and the storm goes on."
While the governor's words aimed to soothe those in need, his advisers' decision to go ahead with the event left many asking, does simply changing the title of a campaign stop not make it a campaign stop?
Few candidates have had to ask themselves this question because so rarely has there been an event of this magnitude this close to an election.
While Governor Romney spent most of Tuesday giving speeches and collecting canned goods, President Obama surveyed the damage and aided tri-state politicians in assessing the next step of assistance. Still, the incumbent democrat was not without a scratch. The president's biggest draw, former President Bill Clinton, held two events in support of the president in Colorado, and TV ads endorsing Obama ran in battleground states for a large part of Tuesdays hurricane coverage.
For better or worse, both candidates spent a good deal of Tuesday on their constituents' flat screens, but one wonders if the time and money spent could have been used for a better cause, after all, on Tuesday afternoon more than 5,000,000 East Coast residents were without power.