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Ann Romney campaigns for storm relief in Davenport

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Ann Romney returned to Davenport on Tuesday afternoon. But this stop was for storm relief instead of heavy-duty campaigning.

Stopping by Republican headquarters, she came to collect food and supplies in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.

"I think we're all reminded right now that for some Americans, life is very hard," she said. "Some have lost their loved ones. Some are losing their homes."

Devastation from Sandy's aftermath is changing strategy in the short term. Republicans and Democrats are taking time out from rallies and speeches. With just one week to go in the race to the White House, they're focusing on the unprecedented damage and finding ways to help others.

"We want to do whatever we can here in the midwest to help them out," said Judy Davidson, Scott County Republicans. "As we are combining this political event, we want a way to help these people out."

It's not the kind of scene campaign staffs would imagine in the final days of this neck-and-neck race. And there's a challenge to remain appropriate without exploiting a dreadful situation.

"It's just another thing they have to overcome and work with," said John Ortega, Scott County Republicans. "You never know what's going to happen, so you've got to be prepared for everything."

As about 100 supporters listened to the five-minute talk, this time out was a chance to reflect on what public service is all about. It's more realistic than any campaign commercial.

"That's what's best about America," Ann Romney concluded. "We put aside our differences. We come together, and we help each other out. It's amazing. We love this country."

After making another stop in Cedar Rapids, the Romney bus delivered supplies during a rally in Des Moines Tuesday evening.

It's a message that hits close to home as time starts to run out in this campaign.

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