Sandy Could Both Benefit And Hurt Presidential Candidates

As areas of the northeast begin to evaluate the scope of damage left in Sandy's wake, the two presidential candidates are still waiting to see how they should proceed in a crucial campaign week. One Houston political observer says Sandy could both benefit and hurt President Obama.

Jeremy Bailey is an associate professor of political science at the University of Houston. He says neither candidate can do much until there’s a better estimate of the damage and loss of life Sandy caused. He says President Obama could get points for taking control, but could also be the victim of an unpredictable storm aftermath.

“This is an opportunity for the President to appear presidential and an opportunity for Romney not to appear presidential, and so I think there’s probably some risk here for Romney. That said, it’s pretty hard for the President to look presidential when he’s expected to do something but it’s not quite clear what he’s expected to do.”

With the power out to millions of residents in the Northeast, Bailey says the bigger problem might be what happens after the election.

“If you want to talk about perfect storms, if we have already some likelihood of an extended election contest, that is some sort of dispute about a contested battleground state, if you throw into the mix sort of arguments about who didn’t get to vote because of the storm and then on top of that a ticking clock with respect to the so-called financial cliff, we could be in for a brutal November.”
He says both candidates have to be respectful of the damage and deaths caused by Sandy, but also not waste the last seven days of the campaign.