Was Sandy A Democrat?

Welcome back...
The old saying that 'a week in politics is a lifetime' has never been more true. Last week at this time, Mitt Romney was riding a continuing wave of momentum emerging from his debate performances and he had drawn virtually even with President Obama. Although after the nightmare of Tropical Storm Sandy, one has to wonder, was Sandy a Democrat? From the look of it, it sure seemed so!
The Media Coverage of 'Superstorm Sandy'
Although Sandy wreaked even greater devastation than the worst forecasts had predicted, it turned out to be a 'gift' to the television news and cable TV networks - notably CNN which - in full OJ Simpson coverage  mode- dined out on every morsel of the catastrophe unfolding in New York City, the Jersey Shore and throughout hundreds of miles of devastation.
Michael Moore takes on CNN's coverage
I got a kick out of Michael Moore who was a guest on Piers Morgan Tonight. Instead of joining in on a sure-to-be fawning interview by Piers, Moore couldn't resist poking fun at CNN's milking of the storm water damage.  He zeroed in on the totally credible business reporter Ali Velshi standing for hours in waders 'reporting' live while fires in Queens remained unmentioned. The producers were fast enough to plug Ali directly into the show so that he could, good-naturedly, defend his honor. All ended with a chuckle, but you could tell Piers wasn't pleased. Here's a clip from that here.
Impressions of Obama
The President had looked particularly negative and somewhat churlish in the first debate. Where had the aura of 2008 gone?  That was the question that many were asking - until this week, when
Obama visits FEMA
'Superstorm Sandy' (as dubbed by CNN) roared up the East Coast. The President - following a marathon 48 hour campaign blitz across the country - landed back in Washington, put his campaign on hold and took on the mantle of Commander-in-Chief, visiting the Red Cross and FEMA headquarters.

Gov. Christie Goes Bipartisan
 Then, with a political gift that he never could have imagined a week ago, the President flew down to New Jersey where he joined his new-found friend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as he toured the devastation in his state. During that critical 72 hour period, the President played the role that Americans expect of a President - non-partisan, statesmanlike and compassionate.

The President Comforts a Victim
 This photo of the President providing comfort to a storm survivor hit the front page of every newspaper throughout the United States, including, of course, the swing states. His empathy seemed real - almost (Bill) Clintonian - in the natural way he expressed himself. When you consider that 537 votes separated Bush from Gore in Florida in the 2000 race, those Presidential images have the potential to be a game changer.

Romney Accepts Storm Donations
Impressions of Romney
Romney had to tread a very fine line - not being partisan, while continuing to campaign in swing states. He made the best of it - first of all by cancelling rallies in New Hampshire or any other state hit by Sandy. The next thing he did was to invite people coming to his rallies to bring non-perishable food or donate to the Red Cross. Whenever he spoke it was with a mostly bi-partisan script - talking about "reaching across the aisle" and working with "good Democrats and good Republicans" elected to Congress. That, of course, completed his transformation from a hard right conservative to 'moderate Mitt' that emerged in the debates. Even then, he had to fend off media coverage of his previous comments regarding the role of FEMA in emergencies. That was unwanted, awkward coverage for sure.
Did Romney make any errors? No. Did he gain ground? No. 
Did Sandy hurt Romney's campaign? Yes. 
On the evidence, you would have to conclude, there was indeed mild negative impact on Romney's campaign. Enough to possibly make a difference.                                        
                                                         Sandy's Political Impact
Bloomberg Endorses Obama
Not only did Gov. Christie heap praise on Obama for his handling of Sandy, but New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out and declared his support for Obama because, he said, of his belief that storms like Sandy are a result of climate change. The appropriateness of the Mayor weighing in on the Presidential race - while thousands of New Yorkers were without electricity, their homes devastated and their lives turned upside down - is a legitimate question, of course.  
So what does this mean for Election Day?
Although I have avoided the 'mug's game' of predicting a winner, I will say this: Obama has several 'swing state' avenues to the Electoral College victory. For Romney, it looks like he is limited to one path - winning Ohio and that is too close to call.  Sandy played to Obama's strengths; turned the independent Mayor Bloomberg into a Democratic supporter and made the Republican Convention keynote- speaking New Jersey Governor a declared fan of the President. If Obama wins re-election - this may become known as the most incredible week in modern Presidential elections.
All that's missing now are - dare we say it? - 'hanging chads' in Florida. Nah!!! Couldn't happen!!!!

So with  four days to go - only half a lifetime in politics -  much can still happen.
Laura and I will be glued to the networks all Tuesday night. Maybe we'll see you on twitter.com/mclomedia and twitter.com/LauraPeck6 where we will be live tweeting the results.
Until next time....

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