After Sandy, where the candidates stand on FEMA

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AP & 13News

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 6:36 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 31 at 6:41 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is emphasizing his incumbent's role for a third straight day in the neck-and-neck presidential race.

Obama is skipping battleground states Wednesday to visit victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, a state he's confident of winning.

The president's actions have forced Republican Mitt Romney to walk a careful line. Romney must show respect for the superstorm's casualties all along the Eastern Seaboard. But he can ill afford to waste a minute of campaign time.

Romney tamped down his partisan tone Tuesday in Ohio. He plans three full-blown campaign events Wednesday in Florida and will be in Va. Beach on Thursday evening. Sandy largely spared Florida, the biggest tossup state.

Obama will meet today with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The GOP governor often criticizes Obama, but he praised the president's handling of Sandy's aftermath.

Until now, FEMA has not been a big issue in the campaign, but Romney has said federal disaster relief could be cut to save money.

During the primaries, when Romney was asked if FEMA should be eliminated or cut back, he said "Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you send it back to the private sector, even better."

The campaign says Romney would not abolish FEMA.

When President Obama ran four years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, he vowed to fix FEMA, not shut it down.

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