ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - President  Obama is canceling a planned campaign appearance in Florida and returning to Washington to oversee the federal government's response to the ever-threatening Hurricane Sandy.

With the massive East Coast storm playing havoc with people's work and school at the beginning of the new week, Obama press secretary Jay Carney says the president is returning to the capital Monday to, quote, "monitor the preparations for and early response" to the hurricane.

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