2012 ELECTION

Sandy upends final week of presidential campaign

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Romney refused to answer repeated shouted questions from reporters about how he would run the Federal Emergency Management Agency as president. He said during the Republican primary race that he wants to return control of some federal functions to the states.

Asked whether Romney favors additional federal aid to help recover and rebuild from Sandy, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responded: "A Romney-Ryan administration will always ensure that disaster funding is there for those in need. Period."

The storm wasn't entirely off limits from politics. Campaigning on Obama's behalf in Minnesota, former President Bill Clinton resurrected a line from Romney's GOP convention speech to suggest that he was flippant about Obama's advocacy of climate change legislation.

At the late August convention, Romney ridiculed Obama as someone who "promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise ... is to help you and your family."

"In my part of America, we would have liked if someone had done that yesterday," Clinton said, noting how oceanfront cities are coping with rising waters more frequently.

While officials in Obama's Chicago-based campaign had hoped he would be in battleground states every day this week, they said they weren't losing any ground by having him in Washington. Obama was still getting local media coverage because of his work on the storm. And aides said Clinton's active campaign schedule this week was helping to boost Democratic voter enthusiasm.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were no plans to cancel Obama's campaign rallies Thursday in Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio, though officials said they continued to monitor the storm. The president may try to make up for lost time by adding more events to an already busy schedule this weekend and into next week, but those plans were still being finalized.

Romney planned to resume an aggressive campaign schedule beginning Wednesday, with three events in Florida with former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. He planned to return to Virginia Thursday, after canceling events there Sunday before the storm.

Aides say they are reviewing his plans on almost an hourly basis, but expect the campaign to get back to normal. They are still considering a plan to send Romney to New Jersey later in the week, where he could meet with victims and gauge the storm damage with Christie. The move would follow the path Romney took after Hurricane Isaac threatened the Republican National Convention, when he toured storm damage in Louisiana with Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, also a supporter.

At the same time, Romney aides insist they are serious about expanding their efforts in battleground states largely considered safe territory for Democrats.

The campaign is launching a statewide advertising push in Pennsylvania, which aides say is in play, although Romney had no plans to visit the state. Ryan planned to campaign across his home state of Wisconsin in an attempt to expand the playing field, before heading to battleground Colorado Thursday. The campaign also invited local media to cover Ryan's plane landing Tuesday over the state border in Minnesota, which has been in the Democratic column since 1976.

The Romney camp also announced that a political rally in Des Moines, Iowa, would go on at the same time as previously scheduled Tuesday night, with Ann Romney filling in for her husband as the headliner. Earlier she visited a campaign office in Allouez, Wis., and urged donations to the Red Cross while describing what a compassionate president her husband would be. "I know the character of this man. I know he is such a good person," she said.

Ryan was slated to drop by campaign offices in his home state of Wisconsin on Tuesday to thank the volunteers helping to collect relief supplies.

Ryan spokesman Michael Steel told reporters that the congressman participated in separate videoconference town halls with voters in Iowa, Florida and Ohio. Reporters were not advised of the calls and were not invited to listen.

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