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Obama cancels stops in Virginia, Colorado because of storm

President Barack Obama (L) mingles in the bar with diners at the Common Man restaurant in Merrimack, New Hampshire October 27, 2012. REUTERS
President Barack Obama (L) mingles in the bar with diners at the Common Man restaurant in Merrimack, New Hampshire October 27, 2012. REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is canceling campaign stops in Virginia and Colorado early next week because of the impending landfall of Hurricane Sandy and will instead monitor the storm from the White House, his spokesman said on Saturday.

Obama was to have campaigned with former President Bill Clinton in Virginia on Monday as part of a three-state swing through political battlegrounds including Ohio and Florida.

The Virginia stop has been canceled along with a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

Following an event in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, "the president will return to the White House to continue to monitor Hurricane Sandy, which is currently forecasted to make landfall along the Eastern seaboard late that day," Carney said.

"The president is being regularly updated on the storm and ongoing preparations, and he has directed his team to continue to bring all available resources to bear as state and local partners continue to prepare for the storm," he said.

The change comes slightly more than a week before the November 6 election in which Obama is battling Republican Mitt Romney.

The schedule shift takes stops in important swing states off Obama's schedule at a time when the race is tight. But it also protects him from criticism that he is making politics a priority during a potentially devastating storm, and gives him a chance to appear presidential during a crisis.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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