An Obama campaign sign pokes out from the floodwaters as rain falls in a neighborhood… (Steve Helber / Associated…)
Top advisors to President Obama say he’ll likely lose a lot of time on the campaign trail because of the coming storm, but that he really doesn't have much of a choice.
Obama has "real responsibilities" to make sure the federal government is ready for the storm when it hits, said senior advisor David Axelrod, which is why the president canceled his appearances at rallies Monday and headed back to the White House situation room.
Obama is going to lose "a bunch of campaign time," Axelrod told reporters in a conference call, but "that’s as it has to be."
"For us, it’s not a matter of optics, it’s a matter of responsibility," he said.
PHOTOS: Hurricane Sandy
Despite the disruption in plans for the final week of the campaign, Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina argue that the available data indicate their candidate is in the lead in key swing states.
Still, it doesn’t help that Romney is free to roam the battleground states, firing up his supporters, while Obama is skipping rallies in Florida, Ohio and Virginia. In a tight race, every visit by a candidate counts.
"We’ll try to make it up on the back end," Axelrod said.
Even so, the Romney campaign says the candidate will cancel Monday night's events in Florida, as well as all events for Romney and running mate Paul Ryan on Tuesday.
"Gov. Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm's way," communications director Gail Gitcho said.
Obama has also canceled Tuesday events.
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