Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ahead Of Hurricane, President Obama & First Lady Leave Washington To Hit Campaign Trail

Both depart a day early for Monday swing state rallies; the subject-to-change schedule for Oct. 29--Oct. 31...
UPDATE, Oct. 29: President cancels campaign rallies due to storm 
Washington, DC - President Obama departed the White House early on Sunday evening, making a sprint to Florida shortly before 6:00 PM in order to arrive  for a Monday campaign rally before the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.  Ahead of his departure, in the morning the President attended church at St. John's Episcopal, located two blocks from the White House.  He was accompanied to the service by daughters Malia and Sasha, and their Godmother, Eleanor 'Mama Kaye' Wilson.  The President then attended a storm briefing at FEMA Headquarters before heading to Florida. (Above:  Returning to the White House after church)

On Monday, the President will attend a 10:00 AM campaign rally at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  Early voting is already underway in the battleground state, and the President will urge supporters to take advantage of it.  He will be back at the White House by 2:45 PM to continue to monitor the storm, according to the latest, constantly changing guidance.

The President will not attend a rally in Youngstown Ohio on Monday, but the event "will move forward with President Clinton and include Vice President Biden," according to the White House.

The President is still currently scheduled to travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin on Tuesday to participate in campaign events, but events in Northern Virginia on Monday and in Colorado Springs on Tuesday have been cancelled.  The President's schedule may change again based on the storm.  "The President continues to be regularly updated on the storm," the White House noted.  

First Lady Michelle Obama also left Washington on Sunday, leaving a day early to travel to Chicago ahead of campaign stops in Iowa on Monday, the White House announced this morning.  She did not attend church with her family.  Mrs. Obama will spend Sunday night in Chicago, before traveling to Iowa on Monday to attend campaign events in Iowa City and Sioux City.

The First Lady will spend Monday night in Chicago.  The rest of her campaign schedule for the week has not yet been announced.

Halloween:  Barring inclement weather in Washington from the hurricane, the President and Mrs. Obama are scheduled to welcome thousands of area school children and children from military families to the White House on Wednesday evening for the annual trick-or-treating festivities under the North Portico.

At FEMA Headquarters on Sunday morning, the President "participated in an operations briefing,"  according to the White House.  FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate updated the President "on ongoing deployments of teams and resources by federal partners to support state and local responders in potentially affected areas."  The President also received an update on the storm from National Hurricane Center director, and spoke directly with Governors and Mayors from "potentially impacted states to ensure there were no unmet needs."

it was drizzling and cold this evening as the President departed for Florida from Joint Base Andrews, climbing aboard Air Force One in a light drizzle, clad in a sport coat, no tie, and trousers.  He was followed by Press Secretary Jay Carney, Senior Advisor David Plouffe, speech writer Jon Favreau and advisor Nancy-Ann DeParle.

The President has already signed an emergency declaration for Maryland and Massachusetts ahead of the storm, authorizing federal disaster assistance.

*Photo by Pete Souza/White House