Romney cancels campaign events

Mitt Romney's campaign announced Monday morning that it was canceling scheduled rallies in Wisconsin and Florida later in the day, as well as events planned for Tuesday, as Hurricane Sandy continued to batter the Eastern Seaboard.

It also canceled events for running mate Paul Ryan.

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"Out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we are canceling tonight's events with Gov. Romney in Wisconsin and Congressman Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland, Fla.," Romney communications director Gail Gitcho said in a statement. "We are also canceling all events currently scheduled for both Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan on Tuesday."

Gitcho added that "Gov. 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," and further scheduling updates would follow.

The cancellation came hours after President Obama announced that he would cancel a scheduled campaign event Monday morning in Florida to return to Washington. Obama also canceled events in Wisconsin and Colorado on Tuesday.

Obama will meet with federal officials in the Situation Room on Monday morning to get an update on the storm, which is expected to pound most of the East Coast.

Romney, meanwhile, has spoken with governors in some of the affected states and has urged supporters to donate to hurricane relief efforts.

The GOP nominee was scheduled to campaign in Ohio on Tuesday, with Ryan scheduled to appear in Colorado.

The decision to suspend campaigning came less than an hour after senior Obama adviser David Axelrod was asked, on a conference call with reporters, whether it would be appropriate for Romney to do so.

"I'm not going to tell Gov. Romney what to do," Axelrod responded.

Romney did appear Monday at a rally in Avon Lake, Ohio, and Ryan was still scheduled to appear in the afternoon at a campaign event in Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Both campaigns canceled events in New Hampshire and Virginia slated for the weekend, saying they did not want to divert emergency personnel from preparations for the looming storm.