As Republican governors work hard to prepare Gulf states for the landfall of Hurricane Isaac, President Barack Obama is holding campaign rallies, content with the mainstream media narrative that bad weather is a GOP burden. In 2008, however, as Hurricane Gustav bore down on Louisiana, Obama was shamed enough by the protests of his rivals that he turned his rallies into appeals for aid for communities in the storm's deadly path.
As Politico reported at the time:
DETROIT — In an abrupt shift of tone, Barack Obama nixed his stump speech Monday and replaced it with a plea to his supporters to assist Gulf Coast residents who fled Hurricane Gustav.
“I had come here planning to talk about the contributions of the American worker,” Obama said at a Labor Day rally here, explaining the switch of plans. “My main goal today is to ask you to help. … I want everybody to remember there is a time for us to argue politics, but there is a time for us to come together as Americans.”
A day earlier, Obama was still ripping into Republican John McCain on the campaign trail....
The Republican National Committee, which had spent the day scaling back its convention schedule, quickly criticized Obama: “It’s unfortunate that Barack Obama is continuing to put politics first and attack John McCain and Sarah Palin. If a natural disaster is not enough to convince Obama to ease off the political attacks, then what is?”...
Obama aides said the senator decided overnight to switch gears.
There is no sign--yet--that Obama plans to turn his campaign rallies in the swing states of Iowa, Colorado and Virginia into appeals for aid. There is, however, one crucial difference between 2008 and 2012, which is that Obama is not just a candidate but the nation's chief executive, responsible for managing national emergencies--not just appealing for aid from someone else's administration or outside aid organizations.