Updated 10:01 am ET
President Obama cancelled a campaign rally this morning in Orlando and is returning instead to the White House.
Obama had been scheduled to be back at the White House by 2:45 pm ET but will instead return by 11:30 am.
From a statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
Due to deteriorating weather conditions in the Washington, DC area, the President will not attend today’s campaign event in Orlando, Florida. The President will return to the White House to monitor the preparations for and early response to Hurricane Sandy.
Notice Carney says the return is due to “deteriorating weather conditions.” That is, Obama is probably returning early less to “monitor the preparations” than out of concern by officials that they might not have been able to get him back into Washington if they waited until the afternoon.
Or perhaps the political team finally calculated they would on balance be worse for his reelection prospects if he were seen campaigning while the New Jersey shore was becoming part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Chief surrogate campaigner Bill Clinton will attend the Orlando event in Obama’s place.
UPDATE: Obama has also cancelled a campaign appearance scheduled for Tuesday in Green Bay, the White House announced.