After Paul Ryan's Fernandina Beach rally, GOP puts campign on hold until Hurricane Sandy passes

Gov. Mitt Romney puts self-imposed campaign moritorium through Tuesday

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Under clear blue skies along a northeast Florida beach, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan asked supporters to keep those in the path of Hurricane Sandy in their thoughts and prayers during a rally in Fernandina Beach -- his last campaign appearance until the GOP campaign resumes after the storm moves ashore.

"We know how to help each other in this country. If you have friends and family in the path of the storm, make sure you call them; make sure they listen to the warnings; make sure they check on their elderly neighbors."

After saying his campaign has suspended operations in affected states and others are helping collect donations for relief efforts, the Wisconsin congressman's comments turned political.

"We can endure anything for eight more days, but we can't take four more years," Ryan told a large crowd gathered at Main Beach Park on Fernandina Beach. "It is not too late to put real reforms in place for a real recovery."

Mitt Romney's campaign office has canceled all planned appearances Monday night and all day Tuesday, including Ryan's next two scheduled Florida stops.

"Out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we are canceling tonight's events with Gov. Romney in Wisconsin and Congressman Ryan in Melbourne and Lakeland," campaign communications director Gail Gitcho said in a statement.

Romney intends to go ahead with speeches Monday in Ohio and Iowa before he begins observing his self-imposed storm-related moratorium on campaigning.

The decision was announced shortly after President Barack Obama canceled a planned rally in Orlando to fly back to Washington, where aides said he would oversee the government's response to the threat posed by the storm.

Former President Bill Clinton and other prominent Democrats went ahead with the planned event at the University of Central Florida, and will join Vice President Joe Biden at rallies later Monday in Ohio.

Biden was originally supposed to campaign in New Hampshire on Monday, but diverted to Ohio to replace Obama after the president canceled his appearance to stick to Washington.

The former Massachusetts governor is currently scheduled to hold a rally Wednesday evening at Jacksonville's Veteran's Memorial Arena. Tickets are being distributed at local GOP campaign offices and online.

The Romney and Obama are locked in a close race, eight days before Election Day.