President Barack Obama the candidate stepped aside yesterday so the commander- in-chief could take over.
In the waning days of his re-election bid, the president scrapped two days of campaigning and retreated from the trail. He hunkered down at the White House to oversee the government's response to the East Coast superstorm, and to project presidential leadership.
"The election will take care of itself next week," Obama said, speaking to reporters at the White House after hastily flying back to Washington from Florida, one of the handful of states the two campaigns are contesting the hardest.
Obama aides insisted that was not only the right decision, but also an easy one. Even with Obama locked in a tight race with Republican Mitt Romney, the president would have risked appearing to put politics over the public's safety had he pressed on with his travel plans. And that could have been enough to turn off some still-persuadable voters at a critical juncture in the campaign.
Now Obama has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to show the type of command in a crisis that only the president can offer.