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A week to go: Sandy disrupts presidential campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eight days before the election, President Barack Obama switched from campaigner to hands-on commander of the federal response to Hurricane Sandy as the sprawling storm roared menacingly toward the Eastern Seaboard. Republican Mitt Romney scaled back his appearances and urged supporters to \do your very best\ in donating to relief efforts.The political pace quickened on Monday even without the customary clash of rallies and rhetoric. Romney's allies put down $1.2 million for a last-minute television ad campaign designed to make Pennsylvania competitive - or at least appear so - and the roll of early voters swelled past 15 million in scattered states.With the race in its final full week, most national polls showed the two presidential rivals separated by a statistically insignificant point or two, although others said Romney had a narrow lead for the overall popular vote.But the election will be won or lost in the nine most competitive states. Republicans claimed momentum there, but the president's high command projected confidence. And Romney's increasingly narrow focus on Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio suggested he still searched for a breakthrough in the Midwest to deny Obama the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.The president changed roles quickly during the day, highlighting the advantages of the incumbency - as long as events go smoothly. He scrapped a morning campaign appearance in Florida, boarded Air Force One for a bumpy flight to the nation's capital and appeared before reporters in the White House not long afterward.\We're making sure that food and water and emergency generation is available for those communities that are going to be hardest hit