AVON LAKE, Ohio (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney canceled campaign events scheduled for Monday night and Tuesday "out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy," his campaign said.
Romney had planned to hold an event in Wisconsin on Monday night and speak in Iowa and Florida on Tuesday. All the states are out of Sandy's path but Romney does not want to be seen focusing only on the campaign as a possible natural disaster looms.
The announcement made clear the havoc that the hurricane hitting the East Coast was having on a presidential race that is too close to call.
"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," said Romney communications director Gail Gitcho.
Romney had risked being perceived as insensitive by continuing to campaign, while President Barack Obama had stopped campaigning to focus on the hurricane.
Romney staged a campaign rally in Avon Lake, Ohio, on Monday and was headed for Iowa for another event.
"I want to mention that our hearts and prayers are with all the people in the storm's path. Sandy is another devastating hurricane by all accounts, and a lot of people are going to be facing some real tough times as a result of Sandy's fury," Romney told supporters in Avon Lake.
He urged those able to do so to make a donation to the American Red Cross.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Alistair Bell and Mohammad Zargham)