We Feel Your Pain, But We Also Have a Plane to Catch

When disaster strikes in an election year, candidates are never far behind. How Obama and McCain handled their visits to the flooded heartland:

Where They Went
Obama: Quincy, lll., on June 13, two days into the crisis and four days before two of the area's three levees were overtopped.

McCain: Columbus Junction, Iowa (population: 1,900), on June 19, a week into the crisis, the same day President Bush visited the state.

What They Did
Obama: Grabbed a shovel and filled about 20 sandbags held open by a local 10-year-old Boy Scout. Gave speech, prayed for victims.

McCain: Surveyed damage with the mayor and gave a gift to an Iowa National Guardsman getting married that day. Gave speech, stayed 30 miles from Bush.

How They Did
Obama: Bonus points for getting there fast, and for steering clear of Iowa at the request of the governor, who feared a visit would sap resources from the recovery effort.

McCain: If you arrive at a disaster on the same day as Bush, you got there a bit late. Also blew off the Iowa gov's request to stay away, but no harm, no foul.

Visit Time
Obama: 75 mins.

McCain: 80 mins.