Obama cancels SNL gig, urges Ike aid; Tina Fey in the wings

Via The Caucus, Barack Obama canceled a planned appearance on Saturday Night Live’s season premiere and scaled back campaigning Saturday because of the seriousness of Hurricane Ike. His campaign released this statement Friday night:

In light of the unfolding crisis in Texas, Senator Obama has decided it is no longer appropriate to appear on “Saturday Night Live” tomorrow evening.

The show, hosted by Olympian Michael Phelps, could still wind up with a surprise presidential campaign guest. Time reports SNL alum Tina Fey is “likely” to show up Saturday night to portray Sarah Palin.

The Obama campaign went ahead with a planned event Saturday in Manchester, N.H., but Joe Biden didn’t attend and Obama made a plea for volunteers and donations in the aftermath of the giant storm.

“During times of need, we are all in it together, and it doesn’t matter if we are Democrats or Republicans, black, white, Hispanic or Asian, we are there for each other in times of need,” he said. “You will help them, I have confidence.”

Obama spoke by telephone Friday with David Paulison, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Houston Mayor Bill White to get an update on the approaching hurricane. Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass said the senator told White he would do whatever he can to help, including using his campaign Web site to raise funds for relief efforts.

The Obama campaign changed its Web site for the weekend to urge visitors to “open our hearts and our wallets to assist those affected,” providing links to the American Red Cross and Save the Children.

John McCain’s Web site included a call to “Help those impacted by Hurricane Ike,” with a link to the Texas Responds charity.

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