(Newsroom America) -- President Barack Obama and GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney returned to the campaign trail Wednesday after taking time out for a couple of days due to Hurricane Sandy.
Obama paused to survey damage and issue instructions to federal emergency agencies tasked with assisting states affected by the storm. Romney took time out in Ohio to collect emergency goods and supplies for residents of the East Coast who lost homes or were otherwise displaced.
The Romney campaign began a push into the traditionally Democratic strongholds of Minnesota and Pennsylvania, where polls show him pulling within striking distance of Obama. Minnesota, with 10 electoral votes, has not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972.
In Pennsylvania, Michigan and even Wisconsin, polls show Romney either closing in on the president or tying him - gains that are seen as encouraging to his campaign and his supporters.
The president, meanwhile, is touring - and campaigning - in New Jersey, where he is surveying storm damage will reaching out to voters. On Wednesday he was accompanied by Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has often been critical of Obama and his policies, but who praised his response to Sandy thus far.
"The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president, personally — he has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area," Christie told NBC News Tuesday.
Aware of Romney's push into Minnesota, the Obama campaign dispatched former President Bill Clinton, who spoke to supporters on the campus of the University of Minnesota, where he declared, "Barack Obama's policies work better."
Romney himself will spend Wednesday attending three campaign events in Florida with prominent Republicans Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, The Hill newspaper reported.
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