TODAY   |  October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy stalls the campaign trail

There are eight days before election day, but there may be even fewer campaign days left as Hurricane Sandy causes problems with campaign travel. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports on the changes to both candidates’ plans.

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>>> has president obama and governor romney scrambling to rearrange their campaign plans with the election just eight days away . both men altering their schedules, cancelling events. chuck todd is nbc's political director and white house correspondent. chuck, good morning to you.

>> reporter: eight days before the election, but there may be fewer campaign days ahead as hurricane sandy is wreaking havoc not just on the east coast but causing all sorts of problem with campaign travel. the likely fallout, the race freezes in place. the question neither campaign is quite sure of, who does this benefit?

>> reporter: president obama tried to stay ahead of sandy arriving in orlando , florida, late sunday, 12 hours ahead of schedule. mitt romney cancelled his weekend events in virginia, instead spending sunday with paul ryan on a bus tour with ohio .

>> right now some people in the country are a little nervous about a storm about to hit the coast, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people who will find themselves in harm's way.

>> reporter: the president is flexing the muscle of incumbency. he spent sunday afternoon at fema headquarters in washington.

>> we want to make sure that we are anticipating and leaning forward into making sure that we've got the best possible response to what is going to be a big and messy system.

>> reporter: asked whether the storm could affect early voting, the president said that remains to be seen.

>> we don't anticipate that at this point, but we'll obviously have to take a look.

>> reporter: storm has already shaken up campaign calendar. the president's only event today is in orlando , after which he'll return to the white house . vice president biden cut short a new hampshire campaign swing diverting to ohio .

>> and the last thing the president and i want to do is have the campaign get in the way of anything. the most important thing is people's safety

>> reporter: tuesday schedule is also in jeopardy. mitt romney cancelled a stop in new hampshire and the president cancelled one in colorado. still, no letup in campaign attacks, particularly on the auto bailout which has made mr. romney's quest to win ohio especially challenging. over the weekend mitt romney released a new ad defending himself.

>> obama took gm and chrysler into bankrupty and sold crysler to italians who are going to build jeeps in china. mitt romney will fight for every american job

>> reporter: republicans chef ally in the state, ohio governor john kasich , said the bailout i.c.e.'s impact on ohio has been overstated.

>> the bureau of labor statistics has said when you take up the accounts and suppliers we're up 400 jobs. we did not grow ohio by helping one sector.

>> i believe the table was set by president obama and ohioans recognize that, and i think that's why the president is going to win ohio .

>> reporter: back to sandy's impact, already this morning the president's not going to attend his event in orlando . bill clinton , he was supposed to do all of these event today campaigning with bill clinton and said bill clinton will do the orlando event, savannah, the president flying right back here to washington to monitor things. you talk to both campaigns, and frankly eight days out, they don't like unknowns. this is a giant unknown. welcome to the october surprise .

>> yeah. it is that. chuck