Will Hurricane Sandy turn out to have been the crucial October surprise in the presidential race?

In American political jargon, an October surprise, according to Wikipedia, is a news event with the potential to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the nation’s presidency.

It’s too early to tell, but we might end up looking back on this year’s presidential campaign and finding strong evidence that Barack Obama benefited from the otherwise unfortunate October surprise that was Hurricane Sandy.

That evidence would include a Washington Post poll (above) SHOWING strong public approval of Obama’s handling of the federal response to the big storm. Then, too, there’s been the fulsome praise of the president on that score (see HERE) by Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey.

For three full days this week, the hurricane pretty much sucked all the oxygen out of the news cycle, consigning traditional campaign politics to secondary status. But it also provided a prominent platform on which Obama looked presidential and in control. Christie’s praise simply reinforced that perception.

Of course, none of this will matter much if Obama doesn’t win the election. But if he does win, and by only a narrow margin, the storm and his response to it might have made the difference.



  1. whatever

    The reaction to the photo-op doesn’t surprise me. If Barack had dedicated as much time to 9/11 in Libya as he dedicated to the photo-op, the ambassador would still be alive today. I’m expecting a pathetic response by Put.

  2. Brian Opsahl

    Your kidding …Right !! i’m mean come on you care more about what happens in Libya than in New Jersey, New York, and our entire Eastern Seaboard. Finally you get to see a Democrat/Republican working together and you turn your nose to it!! grow up Dude !! smell what your shoveling. For once put your own Country first..Please

  3. Brian,

    I hate to break it to you, but those were our countrymen who died in Libya. They died as a result of a terrorist attack, organized by a terrorist group that our President said was all but dead.

    They may have even died as our President watched after he refused to send them the backup that they requested.

    I care about ALL of our countrymen, the only question is: why don’t you?

  4. doc: Spare us the crapola about how you care about all of our countryman. What you care about most is the slurring of the president in service to your right-wing ideology.

    You say our people in Benghazi “may have even died as our President watched after he refused to send them the backup that they requested.”

    The truth of the matter, as was pointed out in a link I provided you last night, is this:


    There is no indication — none — that U.S military officials advised the president or anyone in the administration that a rescue operation was possible, and that the administration ignored that offer. The evidence is entirely to the contrary.

    As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explained, “(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”

    That would be Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are men of training and experience; they know where our military assets are located; they know their capabilities, and they know the difficulties involved in inserting and extracting an armed force into an uncertain situation in another country.

    [Fox News says] that a Special Forces team stationed at an air base in Signonella, Italy, two hours from Benghazi, was ready to intervene but orders were never given. But here’s how such mass hysteria gets fed by partial information, in both senses of the word “partial”. As it turned out, the Special Forces team in question was not based in Sigonella but had to be assembled and transported there from elsewhere in Europe.

    “U.S. officials say (the team) did not arrive in Sicily until after the attack was over,” CBS reports. “Even if the team had been ready in time, confusion about what was happening on the ground in Benghazi — and State Department concerns about violating Libyan sovereignty — made a military rescue mission impractical, the officials say.”

    Arguing against mass and willful hysteria using facts, logic and expert professional opinion is a losing battle, of course. It doesn’t matter that our top military people believed a rescue effort would be impractical and would probably end in the loss of even more American lives. What matters is that talk-show hosts and others can stir up millions of Americans raised on Rambo movies to believe that their leaders could have helped to rescue a well-respected U.S. diplomat and his team, but simply decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Because the president is a traitor.

    That makes no sense. It is such a ridiculous notion that in most eras it would never even be broached in public debate. But this is an era in which many are predisposed to believe the most ridiculous things if it justifies their hatred of Obama, and a time in which when emotions are heightened by a hard-fought presidential campaign. So nonsense reigns.


    Stick that in your pseudo-patriotic pipe and smoke it, doc.

  5. Cunningham is getting testy.

    This is a sure sign that he, like President Obama, knows that his re-election is in doubt.

    One question though Mr. Cunningham.

    Why would the ex Navy Seal have been reported to be “painting” the target where the terrorists were holed up with a laser if he didn’t think that something was available to shoot a missle at it?

    Forget Special Forces, why not call in air support? Even an armed drone?

    American lives were clearly at stake. It couldn’t be that the President was worried that he would have to execute another round of apologies right before the election could it?

  6. doc: Without any evidence — not even a shred — you’re suggesting that the president of the United States deliberately wasted American lives for political purposes.

    That’s a new low, even for you.


  7. I’ll ask Harry Reid how he deals with his shame. Maybe he can help me.

  8. By the way, you didn’t answer my question.

    Why was the ex-SEAL painting a target if he had no possibility of air support?

    Here’s a shred for you to chew on. Don’t choke.


    Then there’s this bombshell at BlackFive from a former Delta operator:

    Having spent a good bit of time nursing a GLD (ground Laser Designator) in several garden spots around the world, something from the report jumped out at me.

    One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target. That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not “paint” a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.

    Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.

    If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.

    If that SEAL was actively “painting” a target; something was on station to engage! And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!

  9. doc: It’s curious that none of your comments about Benghazi have been in response to the post I did this afternoon on this very subject.

    I guess that’s because you can’t refute any of the facts — repeat: FACTS — contained in that post. You don’t want to face those facts because they are completely at odds with the baseless theories and wild speculation you’re peddling here.

    All you can do is pass along the disgusting garbage you glean from the right-wing blogosphere.

    I challenge you to directly address the points raised in this blog post:


  10. doc: Regarding your baseless conjecture that Americans in Benghazi “died as our President watched after he refused to send them the backup that they requested,” read the following and then tell me if you still buy those cockamamie theories you’ve been buying from the extreme right:


  11. Consulates and embassies are considered sovereign to the visiting country. The Marines stationed there are only to protect the interior assets, and personal. They may protect personal who leave. But exterior embassy security is up to the host country. Now if you think we could send troupes or an air attack into a foreign country, you don’t know much. To do that without being invited, would constitute an act of war on a foreign country. Good luck with that. It was up to the Tripoli government to provide the protection for the exterior. American military is not allowed on foreign soil. Period. They can be inside the embassy compound. The building probably wasn’t big enough to have more Marines inside. I realize the CIA was in the area, but that is not the Army of the USA. Consider this. If a Russian embassy was under attack in DC what would you think if Russia sent planes or troupes to attack the intruders.

  12. I never saw the original post, but commenter Tom Rogers sums it up best. Thomas Sowell has an interesting take as well.

    Tom Rogers says:

    November 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    If the Obaama team has nothing to hide, they could make the controversy go away by merely be as forthcoming as they were about the Bin Laden operation. As it stands, the documents that are being leaked undermine just about everybody’s official statements. All it would take is a few facts from Obama and his crew to calm the waters–but such facts as we have don’t support the officious line.


    We are currently seeing another “cooling out” process, growing out of the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11th this year.

    The belated release of State Department e-mails shows that the Obama administration knew, while the attack on the American consulate was still underway, that it was a coordinated, armed terrorist attack. They were getting reports from those inside the consulate who were under attack, as well as surveillance pictures from a camera on an American drone overhead.

    About an hour before the attack, the scene outside was calm enough for the American ambassador to accompany a Turkish official to the gates of the consulate to say goodbye. This could hardly have happened if there were protesting mobs there.

    Why then did both President Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice keep repeating the story that this was a spontaneous protest riot against an anti-Islamic video in America?

    The White House knew the facts — but they knew that the voting public did not. And it mattered hugely whether the facts became known to the public before or after the election. What the White House needed was a process of “cooling out” the voters, keeping them distracted or in uncertainty as long as possible.

  13. Oh, and that led me to this column as well.


    To have helped overthrow pro-Western governments in Egypt and Libya, only to bring anti-Western Islamic extremists to power would have been revealed as a foreign policy disaster of the first magnitude. To have been celebrating President Obama’s supposedly heroic role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the implication that Al Qaeda was crippled, would have been revealed as a farce.

    Osama bin Laden was by no means the first man to plan a surprise attack on America and later be killed. Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, and he was later tracked down and shot down in a plane that was carrying him.

    Nobody tried to depict President Franklin D. Roosevelt as some kind of hero for having simply authorized the killing of Yamamoto. In that case, the only hero who was publicized was the man who shot down the plane that Yamamoto was in.

    Yet the killing of Osama bin Laden has been depicted as some kind of act of courage by President Obama. After bin Laden was located, why would any President not give the go-ahead to get him?

    That took no courage at all. It would have been far more dangerous politically for Obama not to have given the go-ahead. Moreover, Obama hedged his bets by authorizing the admiral in charge of the operation to proceed only under various conditions.

    This meant that success would be credited to Obama and failure could be blamed on the admiral — who would join George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and other scapegoats for Obama’s failures.

  14. doc: Put up or shut up.

    Until you offer evidence here supporting your disgusting suggestion that Americans in Benghazi “died as our President watched after he refused to send them the backup that they requested,” I think you should refrain from submitting any more of your bilge on the subject of Benghazi.

    This time, you’ve gone too far with your un-American crap. I’m going to hold your feet to the fire on this one. Produce the evidence — or admit that you’ve bought into a pack of right-wing lies.

  15. Brian Opsahl

    The reason these right wing conspirecy nut jobs are trying desperatly to pin anything on our President is simple Pat, there are loseing this election and are getting desperate. Just like Romneys jeep lies that are biteing him in the ass in Ohio. Americans are seeing first hand how a Romney administration would operate. No FEMA to handle a Hurricane. No insurance,no Medicare, but hey how some nice big tax breaks for our rich (Donors) I mean Friends.
    @ Doc: Right down the road several of our neigbors in Freeport are going to lose there jobs right before Christmas. for 99 cents per hour Romney and Bain will sellout Americans so they can put some more money in placeses like the.
    Camen Islands
    Pretty much anywhere but here in AMERICA….really dude !!

  16. You should ask yourself why they are doing that Brian. Find out why the jobs are leaving the country and then ask yourself which candidate is likely to reverse that trend.

  17. Pat,

    My statement that “died as our President watched after he refused to send them the backup that they requested,” is over the top. I admit it and I apologize.

    Now, take out the part about the President watching and realize that all of the rest of it is true.

    Libya was KNOWN to be one of the most dangerous places to have a diplomatic detail in the world. The anniversary of 9-11 was approaching and our people on the ground asked repeatedly for MORE security.

    It was not provided.

    A terrorist attack took place on 9-11.

    The administration knew what was going on AS IT WAS HAPPENING.

    The question about whether or not they could have given immediate support remains open.

    The question about whether the administration tried to deny what happened does not. For several weeks after this attack, various administration officials continued to speculate that the attack was the result of Islamic outrage over a meaningless You-Tube video when they KNEW that it was not.

    And I will continue to hold your feet to the fire over all of these details.

    And spare me the pseudo-patriotic name calling. It makes you look like a liberal.

  18. Brian Opsahl

    Again, you care more about some kind of fact finding mission, than our own folks out on the East Coast. The Military made the disission to stand down that night and wait for daylight. FACT !! I watched the General say it, and explain why he did that. But you and the neo-cons no more than anybody else…Right.

    Now your Freeport twist…? Look the Stockholders have been making a ton of money on Sensata for a long time, So don’t even play that game of Why somebody running for President would let these workers jobs go to China …Bain/Romney have been Harvesting Companys for years, then take all that money off shore to hide it from AMERICAN taxes.

    This action makes me sick to my stomack that anybody would vote for somebody who sells our good paying American jobs to the Chinese…PUKE !!

  19. Really Wilson The Las Vegas Review-Journal? They’re one step away from a buyers weekly catering to desert seniors.

  20. Brian,

    What makes you think I don’t care about what’s happening to our own folks on the East Coast?

    I do care, in fact, I have friends who ARE those people on the East Coast.

  21. Brian Opsahl

    You keep bringing something up about Libya that hasn’t been settled yet. Like that is all that is happening in our World. Several Americans have died and many will lose there homes but all You seem to care about is Libya,Libya 4 Americans killed by terrorist is tragic yes, and there are many questions to be answered and they will be but more than 90 Americans have died in OUR Country and your President is doing a great job of handleing the sithuation with a republican Govenor and all you write about is Libya,Libya

  22. Wrong, I just wrote about the East Coast.

    I admire your concern.

    I suggest you make a meaningful contribution to the Red Cross. They need every dollar they can get.


  23. Brian Opsahl

    Did that yesterday, with my check that i send to the Rockford Rescue Mission. So Thanks !!

  24. I have always favored the Rescue Missions as well. I used to support Rockford’s and now support Milwaukee’s. They do some pretty awesome things for people in need.

  25. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, President Obama is doing all the right things, such as telling FEMA to do what it’s already tasked to do, even as the sequestration he pushed as part of the Budget Control Act threatens to cut $900 million from the agency’s budget.
    Pledging to cut red tape, signing disaster declarations,releasing emergency funds and saying the administration is with the victims all make for good photo-ops, just like the one showing the president having rushed back to the White House to watch the Navy SEALs get Osama bin Laden, an act made possible by intelligence-gathering and interrogation techniques employed by his predecessor and opposed by candidate Obama.

    Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/103112-631624-obama-presidential-on-sandy-not-benghazi.htm#ixzz2B5ZzCyB5

  26. The cutting red tape comments have been interesting and telling.

    Even the President knows deep down that we have too much red tape at the federal, state and local level and it causes a real and serious problem.

    He also has so much as admitted that overbearing governmental regulation is an impedance to progress and in the end unnecessary when you really want to get the job done.

  27. Brian Opsahl

    And to yoy it’s a bad thing when he finds us doing things the wrong way and he takes steps to correct and now he gets critized ….and you wonder whats wrong with our Government.

    Ask guys like Wilson…Bush said and i quote…I don’t no where he is I dont even think about him no more…..giving Bush any credit for getting Osama bin Ladin would be like.
    That Hurricane was all Romneys fault. get over the Fact that Bush was a complete failure on a MEGA scale. And my bank account was proff I almost lost everything because of your Idiot you voted for TWICE…Right

  28. He isn’t taking steps to correct it, he acknowledges that current regulation is a hinderance to getting things done and will bypass them now, because it is an emergency and he stands for re-election in less than 1 week.

  29. Brian Opsahl

    You say he isnt taking steps yet he is taking steps to do whatever is nesessary to cut all the red tape. What is wrong with you, is the sky blue…?
    When a republican that just gave the keynote speech at the reupblican convention says the President is doing a great job. Negativity breeds negativizium. everytinhg you have ever writen is a slam at the President. Of course he’s running for re-election against a guy who is prone to say just about anything to win, so yea he’s cutting the red tape he’s cutting the time it takes to get ahold of somebody 15 min, rule on phone calls. Thats called leadership. The other guy would have gutted FEMA and blamed Mr Obama for it then lie about it. So far thats been his MO….Mr Negative

  30. Brian,

    You really have to learn to read. I didn’t say he is doing a bad job, in fact I don’t think it should be the President’s “job” to deal with disasters on the ground. It should be the job of local and state officials. But he is RIGHT. Governmental red tape is a bane not a boon to success. He is doing the RIGHT thing in bypassing it now, but it exposes him as a hypocrite.

    My point is that if the President so readily acknowledges that governmental red tape is a barrier to success during this period for the people impacted by Sandy, then why wouldn’t he want to remove said red tape permanently? In fact, why has he not done so already? Why does he want to impose more?

  31. Brian Opsahl

    To your point ….He can’t change anything until the filabustering stops and the republicans start to put America first. Thats my point, and that was my point when i brought up what Cris Cristy and the President are trying to show the rest of us. When we all work together America ROCKS but we can’t do this alone as has been the norm latley.

    I Love this Country and have watched her get torn appart by the pure hateret for our current President and whenever I point out his accomplishments …..the slam machine starts without reguard to anything he has ever did.

    Start putting Americans first because if the President doe’s win again we need to come together as a Nation for the good of everybody.

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