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Sandy Has Obama And Romney Shifting Gears, Not Quite Suspending Campaigns

President Barack Obama (left) greets employees at the Red Cross headquarters on On Oct. 30, 2012, a day after Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney (right) helps collect and pack donated goods as he attends a storm relief campaign event to help people who suffered from the storm in Ohio. (Credit: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Emmanuel Dunland-AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama (left) greets employees at the Red Cross headquarters on On Oct. 30, 2012, a day after Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney (right) helps collect and pack donated goods as he attends a storm relief campaign event to help people who suffered from the storm in Ohio. (Credit: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Emmanuel Dunland-AFP/Getty Images)

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) – So much for President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney suspending their campaigns during the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports both candidates found ways to be seen and heard on Tuesday, even if they weren’t officially campaigning.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel once said “never let a good crisis go to waste,” and that’s exactly what President Obama, Emanuel’s former boss, appeared to be doing on amid the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

Obama quickly suspended his campaign as the storm hit the East Coast on Monday, transitioning from candidate to commander in chief, and winning praise from even his staunchest opponents.

That was something the mayor was quick to jump on, before voting early Tuesday afternoon alongside Congressman Luis Gutierrez at the McKinley Park fieldhouse.

“I think [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie himself personally thanked the president this morning on TV for an incredibly rapid response,” Emanuel said.

Christie, who gave the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, had high praise for Obama’s handling of the storm early Tuesday in an interview on CNN.

“I spoke to the president three times yesterday. He’s been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state, and not once did he bring up the election,” Christie said on CNN.

As Obama said Monday, “the election will take care of itself.”

The president went to Red Cross headquarters Tuesday, after announcing that he’s cancelled all campaign appearances for a third day on Wednesday.

“This storm is not yet over,” Obama said.

Obama announced he’ll tour hard hit areas of New Jersey on Wednesday with Christie, leaving Romney to rename a cancelled campaign event in critically important Ohio, a “relief event.”

“A lot of people will still be looking for goods, even though we’ve gathered these things, as you know,” Romney said. “But I know that one of the things I’ve learned in life is that you make the difference you can.”

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said the issues in the race for president have not changed, despite the impact of the superstorm on the campaign.

“First and foremost, we want to take care of our fellow Americans,” Brady said. “But, bigger picture, it doesn’t change the fundamentals. We’re going to have a jobs report on Friday, good or bad. The fundamentals of the economy haven’t changed. We got a lot of bad earning reports, a lot of bad economic numbers in the last 10 days. So, the major issue of the campaign, the major focus of the campaign hasn’t changed, so I don’t think it’ll have any impact one way or another.”

But for now, Romney appears to have lost the momentum in the race for president, stopped in its tracks by Hurricane Sandy.