The so-called superstorm that wreaked havoc along the eastern edge of the U.S. and Canada this week couldn’t have come at a more interesting time.
With the U.S. election less than a week away, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney were practically tripping over each other to avoid any notion that they were campaigning as Sandy churned up the coast.
But as much as the two are trying not to politicize the disaster, with so much money and power riding on Tuesday’s election, it’s only natural that it turns into a political issue.
With no attachment to the White House, Romney has little to win or lose with the storm’s fallout — he just has to avoid saying something stupid. That isn’t the case for Obama, however.
How the president responds in the days leading to next week’s election could be instrumental in whether he remains in the White House.
Even before the storm did its worst, Obama promised to “respond big and respond fast,” and cut the red tape so government doesn’t “get bogged down with a lot of rules.”
And you can bet he will make good on those promises — immediately. It won’t be just because fast relief is the right and appropriate thing to do, it’s because he no doubt has the fallout from hurricane Katrina at the forefront of his mind.
Katrina was a costly and deadly storm that gave the Bush administration fits for months after it struck in 2005. The hurricane flooded New Orleans after its levee system failed, causing deaths, food shortages and racial tensions to flare.
The federal and state response to the disaster was heavily criticized for lack of planning and co-ordination, and whether he deserved it or not, George W. Bush took much of the heat. You can bet nobody knows that more than Obama.
With days until the election, he can’t afford to be seen as indecisive. If his response makes or breaks his election chances, a betting person would put their chips in his corner as the crisis unfolds.
And all Romney can do is watch.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.