Obama cancels third day of campaigning to deal with Sandy

After canceling his appearance at a morning campaign rally in Orlando, Fla., President Obama walks into the White House in a driving rain after returning to Washington to monitor preparations for early response to Hurricane Sandy, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Superstorm Sandy caused President Obama to sideline a third day of campaigning, cancelling his trip to Ohio Wednesday where he was expected to host two rallies there. Instead, he will remain at the White House to "monitor the response" to the storm, according to a White House statement.

"The President will remain in Washington, DC on Wednesday to monitor the response to Hurricane Sandy and ensure that all available federal resources continue to be provided to support ongoing state and local recovery efforts," the White House said.

It is unclear which of Mr. Obama's supporters - if any - will replace him at the Ohio rallies. Former President Bill Clinton is attending two rallies in Minnesota on Mr. Obama's behalf today and although Vice President Joe Biden's rallies today were cancelled, he is scheduled to head to the battleground states of Florida and Iowa later this week.

The Romney campaign, meanwhile, cancelled all but one event today - his campaign hastily organized a Sandy-related charity event in Ohio - and has announced that Romney will hold campaign rallies in Florida on Wednesday. Meantime, his wife Ann and his running mate Paul Ryan are attending events set up to gather donations and supplies for the victims of Sandy.

Attending to the storm, the president received another briefing Tuesday morning from key federal officials, including FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. He was updated on Sandy's path, the impacts of the storm and the deployment of government resources. The White House released a new picture of the president's briefing in the Situation Room at the White House.

According to the White House, the president expressed sadness for those who lost their lives and commended the first responders. He also said the government administrators' "top priority" is to ensure all resources are made available. He directed them to offer support local, state and private sector efforts. Additionally, he spoke with Govs. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. and Chris Christie, R-N.J., last night and will be in touch with appropriate state and local officials again this afternoon, the White House said.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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