Hurricane keeps Obama off the campaign trail

Story highlights

  • This is the second time Obama has had to cancel campaigning
  • Aides describe him as eager to stump for Clinton

(CNN)President Barack Obama canceled another campaign event for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, just as his party hopes the sitting commander in chief can use his near-record popularity to help propel its nominee to victory.

The White House said Obama was scrapping his planned trip to Florida as the state prepares for a major hurricane, forecast in some models to hit the eastern coast on Thursday. Obama was due to talk up his signature health law in Tampa, as well as stump for Clinton in Miami.
    It was the second time Obama has postponed a campaign event for Clinton; in July, his first appearance on the trail for the Democratic nominee was canceled after a nightclub shooting in Orlando. With five weeks to go until Election Day, Obama has made only two appearances for Clinton: his campaign trail debut in Charlotte in July, and a solo appearance in Philadelphia last month. He will make the case for Clinton in Ohio next week, at a Democratic dinner in Columbus and a rally in Cleveland.
    Other presidential obligations, including a week-long swing through Asia and the annual United Nations meetings in New York, have precluded further campaigning from the current Oval Office occupant, though he and his aides describe a president raring to make the case for Clinton.
    For Democrats, it's a reminder that relying on Obama to drive turnout and galvanize voters comes with a downside: the obligations and schedule inherent in his full-time job as president of the United States. While Obama is still set to campaign for his preferred successor more than any sitting president in recent history, the White House has maintained that his official duties must take priority.
    Instead of campaigning for Clinton, Obama will take time Wednesday for a briefing on hurricane preparations at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington. And while he's expected to return to the campaign trail next week, Obama isn't likely to make it to Florida before the state's October 11 voter registration deadline.
    "We are hoping to be able to reschedule those events relatively soon," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday. "But that will be determined by the impact of the storm and by other components of the president's schedule."
    White House officials have said Obama would make one or two campaign appearances per week for Clinton in the first weeks of October. To allow for an intensification of his political efforts, his schedule nearer to Election Day has remained flexible, with no major foreign trips slated.
    He's also expected to cut television and radio ads for Clinton, and continue his intense fundraising efforts for Democrats. His next stop on the high-dollar circuit is his hometown Chicago, where he'll raise cash for congressional Democrats and the Clinton campaign this weekend.
    Obama is also expected to cast his ballot in Chicago, potentially as early as Friday, to highlight the early voting options for Democrats ahead of Election Day.
    Instead of Obama, it's his White House cohorts -- first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden -- who have taken on the bulk of the campaigning so far. Michelle Obama has delivered barn-burners in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia on Clinton's behalf, as well as taped a 30-second ad for the Democratic nominee. Clinton's campaign hopes the first lady can drive suburban women and minorities to the polls in November.
    Biden, meanwhile, has made stops in Florida and Pennsylvania to bolster Clinton's appeal among working class voters.