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Sandy Rains On Campaign 2012

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Like Hurricane Sandy, the presidential campaign is changing course by the hour. President Obama and Mitt Romney are each searchingfor the right tone, while toning down the rhetoric.

“I hope your thoughts and prayers will join with mine and people across the country as you think about those folks that are in harm’s way,” Romney said.

President Obama returned to the White House to oversee the federal response, but he sent out former President Clinton to campaign on his behalf. Clinton will make a campaign stop in Minnesota on Tuesday.

“He called me this morning he said ‘This storm’s getting out of hand. I gotta handle it.’ And I said ‘Mr. President – that is the right call,” Clinton said.

In some of the hardest hit states, Governors called off early voting. Federal election officials are advising states to check their laws to see if their Governors have power to postpone elections.

In Minnesota, the answer is no. What would we do under those circumstances?

Minnesota has no emergency plan for election-time disasters, and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Richie says it’s time to write one.

“We need to be thinking not only about a natural disaster, but let’s say influenza or another kind of public health emergency,” Ritchie said.

Governors do have emergency powers to postpone state elections. On 9/11, Governor Jesse Ventura considered postponing that day’s primary by using his executive powers. Ventura asked his election expert, Joe Mansky, for advice during the attack.

“At that point we didn’t know if that was it, or if there were going to be additional attacks on other parts of the country, including here,” Mansky said.

Since 9/11, seven states have given their governors power to temporarily postpone presidential elections.

Many of them are hurricane targets, including Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina and New York.

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