Campaigning stops. Obama: "Saving lives number one priority." - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Campaigning stops. Obama: "Saving lives number one priority."

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After scrubbing campaign stops, President Obama is back at the White House, monitoring preparations and early response to Hurricane Sandy. "This is going to be a big and powerful storm," Obama said. "The key is to make sure the public is following instructions." 

Eight days before the presidential election, campaigning has come to a halt. President Obama canceled two days of campaigning to monitor Hurricane Sandy. Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan have canceled events for tonight and tomorrow. 

Four critical election states are affected by the storm - North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire.

President Obama says he isn't worried about the hurricane's potential impact on the election, says "the number one priority is to make sure we're saving lives."

While the massive storm will cause unrelenting rain in most of the eastern U.S., blizzard conditions are predicted for some areas. There's a blizzard warning for West Virginia, where up to 3 feet of snow may fall in the mountains, and a blizzard warning in western Maryland.

 As the U-S braces for Hurricane Sandy, the Caribbean is cleaning up and mourning the deaths of at least 69 people. Haiti didn't take a direct hit, but 52 people died during several days of drenching rains. Another 11 people died in Cuba. The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico also report deaths.