- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. - For the second time in as many weeks, Sen. Barack Obama scrapped campaign plans as a major hurricane threatened the Gulf Coast.

The Democratic presidential nominee canceled a scheduled skit on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, skipping a flight to New York for the comedy show and instead heading home to Chicago.

After speaking with FEMA officials and the mayor of Houston about preparedness in the face of Hurricane Ike, which made landfall early Saturday morning, Mr. Obama adjusted his schedule.

“In light of the unfolding crisis in Texas, Senator Obama has decided it is no longer appropriate to appear on Saturday Night Live tomorrow evening,” the campaign announced just before midnight Friday.

Mr. Obama last fall made a surprise appearance on the show, which has focused heavily on politics this year and even became a topic during a primary debate in Ohio.

When speaking with Mayor Bill White on Friday, Mr. Obama offered to help and said he would use his campaign site to raise money for relief efforts.

“Once again the nation holds its breath as another major hurricane takes aim at a major American city,” the BarackObama.com home page read Friday night. “As Ike makes landfall in Texas, it is time for us to open our hearts and our wallets to assist those affected.”

It included links to the Red Cross and Save the Children.

His running mate Sen. Joe Biden, who initially intended to appear with Mr. Obama at an outdoor rally here Saturday, dropped the campaign trip on Saturday.

The rally is still scheduled to continue, but the program will likely be abbreviated and less political.

On Labor Day as Hurricane Gustav descended on New Orleans, Mr. Obama attended three campaign events in swing states Michigan and Wisconsin. Instead of giving a political speech, he urged supporters at each stop to donate time and money to the Red Cross and other organizations.

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