Total Pageviews

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Despite Libyan Crisis, Obama Campaign Plans to Stay on Schedule


LAS VEGAS â€" President Obama may be consumed with an international crisis, but the campaign goes on as planned, at least at this point. The president is still scheduled to start a Western campaign swing Wednesday night, with a rally here in Las Vegas and another in Colorado on Thursday.

Mr. Obama's aides indicated that he would have reconsidered his trip had the violence in Libya and Egypt spilled into a second day in a major way. But with any follow-up protests remaining relatively modest, the president will monitor events from Air Force One as he makes his way here, aides said.

Mr. Obama and his team have learned from experience that the political costs of campaigning amid crises can be minimal . It was almost exactly four years ago when Senator John McCain suspended his campaign at the height of the financial crisis to help shape the bank bailout, and called upon then-Senator Obama to join him by postponing their first debate.

Mr. Obama declined, saying he could have input from the road, but “it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once.'' And Congressional Democrats accused Mr. McCain of engaging in a political stunt that threatened to disrupt their negotiations. The debate went on as planned.

Leaving the White House in the aftermath of a crisis may be still less politically risky in this case, given that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, injected the crisis into campaign terms by immediately criticizing the administration's handling of it. Mr. Obama has yet to directly respond to him.

His next opportunity to do so will come when he speaks here at around 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

Even as Mr. Obama' s campaign was processing the developments in Benghazi, Libya, it was also moving ahead early Wednesday with the release of a new advertisement attacking Mr. Romney on taxes. Running here in Nevada, in Iowa, in Virginia and in Ohio, the ad accuses Mr. Romney of having a secret plan that would slash taxes for millionaires and raise them for the middle class.

The Romney campaign says that he has no such plans to do so and that studies that have come to similar conclusions have been based on flawed assumptions on specifics Mr. Romney has yet to give, as Annie Lowrey and David Kocieniewski of the The Times reported this week.