Hillary Clinton's campaign has decided to delay a $63,000 ad buy on the Weather Channel after facing backlash for being insensitive to the millions of people in the path of Hurricane Matthew, Fox News reported.
"We have requested that stations in Florida delay any of those ads on the Weather Channel until after the storm passes," Fox quoted spokesman Jesse Ferguson from a statement Thursday.
As Politico first reported, the proposition was risky from the get-go as political campaigns must refrain from exploiting suffering while at the same time make the most of the situation. The Weather Channel, with a surge in viewership, would provide a broader outreach.
Hurricane Matthew is currently forecast to approach the Florida East Coast late Thursday or early Friday.
Matthew could turn the election in other ways, too. Campaign operations in Florida, North Carolina and neighboring states may become inactive as volunteers, staffers and their families could need some time to recover from the storm.
During times of natural disasters, presidents are supposed to monitor disaster responses, coordinate with ground officials and exercise their authority in a positive way, rather than look for photo-ops.
"You need to strike a balance between looking presidential but not looking like you're a politically crass politician who's parachuting in for a photo-op," Ryan Williams, who advised Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, said.
Meanwhile, Brett Doster, who advised Bush's reelection campaign in Florida, said, "Certainly there's an effect that occurs when a chief executive is looking like a chief executive at a time of crisis. You just can't divorce politics from it."
Doster also elaborated that both George Bush and Jeb worked intensely during a string of brutal hurricanes in 2003 and 2004. The result that followed was of mutual political benefit.
In this case, as neither Trump nor Clinton have an official role, their role is unclear. Hence, strategists believe President Barack Obama and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will have to perform the task.
"The two candidates are going to have to be very careful because there's a tremendous risk if it looks like they're politicizing it in the least," Doster said.
The last major hurricane made landfall in the United States nearly 11 years ago. Hurricane Wilma — which made landfall along Florida's southwest Gulf Coast in October 2005 as a Category-3 storm — killed five people in Florida and caused a damage of $21 billion in damage.
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