AVON LAKE, Ohio – GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan are canceling their Monday night and Tuesday events, the campaign announced Monday afternoon.
"Out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we are canceling tonight's events with Governor Romney in Wisconsin and Congressman Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Florida,” Romney communications director Gail Gitcho said in a statement. “We are also canceling all events currently scheduled for both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan on Tuesday.
“Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harm's way. We will provide additional details regarding Governor Romney's and Congressman Ryan's schedule when they are available,” she added.
The statement came just as Romney was kicking off his first of three scheduled events of the day, in Avon Lake, Ohio; he will attend his next event, in Iowa, but not one in Wisconsin. Ryan was scheduled to hold three campaign events in Florida but instead will only hold one, in Jacksonville. Earlier in the day, Romney's campaign had planned to keep to its planned schedule.
At the end of his remarks at Avon Lake High School, Romney spoke about the storm and urged supporters to donate to the Red Cross.
“One more thing I want to mention to you -- you with full hearts and clear eyes can see what’s happening across the country right now, and on the eastern coast of our nation, a lot of people are enduring some very difficult times,” Romney said. “And our hearts and our prayers go to them as we think about how tough it’s going to be there.”
“I don’t think there’s been a hurricane in Ohio in a long time,” he said, to a few chuckles from the crowd. “But this hurricane’s going to cause a lot of damage across this country and hurt a lot of families. And there are families in harm’s way that are going to be hurt either in their possessions or perhaps in something more severe. And so I’d like to ask you who are here today to think about making a contribution to the Red Cross or to another relief agency, to be of help if you possibly can in any way you can imagine and help those that are in harm’s way.”
The gymnasium full of supporters applauded, and Romney continued.
“We’ve faced these kind of challenges before,” he said. “And as we have, it’s interesting to see how Americans have come together. This looks like another time when we need to come together all across the country, even if you’re in Ohio, and make sure that we give of our support to people who need it.”
He asked supporters to “look for a way to do that,” and noted that campaign offices are collecting donations of goods and cash. He also urged supporters to contribute via the Internet.
Romney also spoke of the storm in a brief address to an overflow crowd, saying that "the people in Ohio have big hearts, so we're expecting you to follow through and help out."
Further details on Romney's travel plans were not immediately available.