Discuss as:

Obama cancels Florida event, returns to Washington to monitor storm

Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday. Obama cancelled his appearance at a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida and returned early to Washington, DC to monitor response to Hurricane Sandy.

President Barack Obama canceled a campaign event in Florida on Monday to return to Washington ahead of Hurricane Sandy, a White House spokesman said.

"Due to deteriorating weather conditions in the Washington area, the president will not attend today's campaign event in Orlando. The president will return to the White House to monitor the preparations for and early response to Hurricane Sandy," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

Sandy, a massive storm bearing down on the U.S. East Coast, has forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands residents.

Obama arrived in Florida on Sunday night, coming early to try to beat the storm. He was to have held a joint campaign event with former President Bill Clinton. 

Reuters, Getty Images

In the final push in the 2012 presidential election, candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama make their last appeals to voters.