Hurricane Sandy disrupts campaign's final days

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

AVON LAKE, Ohio As the East Coast prepared for Hurricane Sandy's landfall, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday turned his victory offices in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia into collection centers for storm relief supplies. His campaign has also ceased fundraising emails to many of the states in the path of the storm.

The record-breaking storm, which threatened Monday to do serious damage throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, threw a wrench into the final week of campaigning for both presidential candidates. President Obama cancelled an appearance at a rally in Orlando this afternoon to return to the White House to monitor storm response efforts.

The Republican's campaign cancelled events scheduled Monday night for Romney in Wisconsin and for running-mate Paul Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Florida.

The Romney campaign also cancelled a scheduled rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday and three events in Virginia.

"Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm's way, said spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.

Romney said during a stop in Celina, Ohio, on Sunday, "I know that right now some people in the country are a little nervous about a storm about to hit the coast. And our thoughts and prayers are with the people who will find themselves in harm's way."

Romney has been in touch with Republican Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia about their storm preparations. The candidate also sent a message to states in the path of the storm asking residents to be safe and to look out for their neighbors, and encouraging support for local Red Cross organizations. He also asked his supporters to bring their Romney-Ryan yard signs indoors.

"For safety's sake, as you and your family prepare for the storm, please be sure to bring any yard signs inside," Romney wrote in the message. "In high winds they can be dangerous, and cause damage to homes and property."

  • Sarah Huisenga On Twitter»

    Sarah Huisenga is covering the Mitt Romney campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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