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Campaign pause set to lift on Wednesday

 

President Barack Obama canceled his campaign trips to Ohio on Wednesday as the rest of the 2012 presidential campaign prepared to largely resume its usual stride in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

President Barack Obama makes a statement in the White House briefing room following a briefing on Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — who was holding an event on Tuesday in Ohio ostensibly intended to collect supplies and donations for storm relief — appears set to head to Florida on Wednesday before heading to hurricane-stricken Virginia on Thursday.

Earlier Tuesday, the White House announced that the president will no longer make his planned campaign trip to Ohio, and instead remain in Washington, D.C., to monitor fallout from Sandy.

With just a week remaining until Election Day and precious few hours remaining for Obama and Romney to sway swing voters in a series of battleground states, both candidates had to weigh politicking with sensitivity to the East Coast victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Gov. Mitt Romney attended a storm relief event in Ohio, urging supporters to "make the difference in the life of one or two people" by donating goods to benefit the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The president faced additional official responsibilities in assisting to restore power to millions of Americans without electricity, and helping states cope with damage to infrastructure and beyond.

Obama won plaudits from a top supporter of Romney's — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — for his handling of the storm's aftermath.

But, speaking on Fox News, the pugnacious New Jersey governor also angrily dismissed efforts to interpret his comments through a political lens.

Reuters, Getty Images

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

“I have a job to do," he said. "If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, than you don’t know me."

Each presidential contender turned to surrogates on Tuesday to carry their message.

Related: Romney set to return to hurricane-stricken Va. on Thursday

Former President Bill Clinton was set to stump for Obama in Minnesota and Colorado, while Ann Romney was scheduled to hold a rally in Iowa following several hurricane relief events earlier Tuesday in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Wednesday's campaign schedule resembled a more traditional agenda for candidates just six days before an election. Vice President Joe Biden was set to make stops in Florida, and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was scheduled to campaign in his native Wisconsin.

NBC's Chuck Todd reports on how the campaigns are responding to the storm.

The Romney campaign's official mobile phone application advised events for the former Massachusetts governor in Florida.

At this point, Obama's next publicly advised campaign events were set for Thursday, when the president was scheduled to make a three-state campaign swing with stops in Las Vegas, Boulder, Colo., and Springfield, Ohio.

Also on Thursday, according to the Republican Party of Virginia, Romney will make the first trip of any candidate to that battleground since Sandy struck.

Romney hasn't visited the Old Dominion state since Oct. 17, and canceled a planned visit this past Sunday for fear of diverting resources from preparedness operations.

 The hurricane's aftermath continued, though, to inject broader uncertainty into the race for president and scores of downballot campaigns, as candidates' schedules were re-arranged on the fly.

Power outages and canceled campaign events also complicated pollsters' efforts to gauge public opinion in states affected by the hurricane.

NBC News' Chuck Todd joins Morning Joe to talk about the impact of Sandy on the presidential race and what he expects from both campaigns going into Nov. 6.

Of additional concern to both campaigns might be impact of inclement weather and hurricane fallout on early voting, a process used by both Romney and Obama to bank votes ahead of Nov. 6 itself.

Biden suggested on the "Enrique Santos Radio Show" on Tuesday morning that the hurricane may depress early voting.

"It may, it's just hard to tell now," he said of the storm's impact. "We've gotten the early vote out pretty well so far."