President Obama’s top advisers said the time is right for the president to return to the campaign trail on Thursday when he will hold rallies in Green Bay, Las Vegas and Boulder, Colo.

David Axelrod told reporters that Obama wanted to wait until he was certain that the federal government had a handle on the response to Hurricane Sandy. The president is scheduled to tour damaged areas of New Jersey on Wednesday afternoon with Gov. Chris Christie, but after that he will get back onto the trail.

“We've passed a threshold here,” Axelrod said during a conference call. “We owe it to folks to make the final arguments.”

Of the storm’s effect on the race for the White House, the senior strategist said he was hesitant to offer a political calculation considering that more than 50 people have died and the storm caused tens of billions of dollars in damages.

“This was a disaster of huge proportions. The president is doing what his responsibilities require,” he said. “That includes going to New Jersey … to offer support of the people of our country, to tour the scene himself, to speak first hand with first responders and elected officials. Our judgment was until we got a handle on the scope of this disaster the president’s job, and this was his judgment, was to remain in Washington and in touch
face-to-face touch with those who were responsible.”

Axelrod added that the storm “tended to freeze the race … because people are focused on the storm. That’s what’s in the news.”