Romney speaks with FEMA
October 29th, 2012
06:48 PM ET
1 year ago

Romney speaks with FEMA

Davenport, Iowa (CNN) – Mitt Romney spoke Monday with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the National Weather Service as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the U.S. East Coast.

Romney joined the representatives from the agencies, as well as officials from the Department of Homeland Security, on a 20-minute phone call at 4 p.m. ET while the GOP nominee was in Davenport, Iowa for an event, according to campaign spokesman Kevin Madden.

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The presidential candidate received updates on the progress of the Category 1 hurricane, as well as the status of federal, state and local disaster relief efforts, Madden said. Romney was further briefed on the potential effects to states and communities in the storm's immediate aftermath.

Romney's comments about FEMA, made at a CNN Republican primary debate in June 2011, received renewed attention Monday. At the time, Romney said he favored states taking on a large role in disaster relief. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," he said.

Asked Monday whether Romney held the same position he did at the June 2011 debate, Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg explained the candidate believes "states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions."

"As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most," Henneberg said. "This includes help from the federal government and FEMA."

While Romney canceled his campaign plans in Virginia on Sunday, in addition to an event in Wisconsin Monday night, he still held a rally in Iowa Monday. The campaign said the event was attended by 2,250 people, according to a count of those who went through security.

"I was speaking today with the National Weather Service and the folks at FEMA as they're preparing for the landfall of a very dangerous hurricane. It's going to affect a lot of families, it already has," Romney said at the event.

He continued: "And the damage will probably be significant and of course a lot of people will be out of power for a long time and so hopefully your thoughts and prayers will join with mine and people across the country as you think about those folks that are in harm's way."

The former Massachusetts governor encouraged supporters to donate to the American Red Cross. "We love our fellow Americans, wish them well!"

President Barack Obama, who also canceled campaign events, spoke to reporters in the White House Briefing Room earlier Monday, saying "millions of people" will feel the storm's impact. He held a briefing Sunday at FEMA's headquarters in Washington, D.C. and met with officials on Monday in the White House Situation Room.

- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • FEMA • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (985 Responses)
  1. Cheryl2

    Should'nt Romney let FEMA do thier job instead of wasting their time talking to someone who is not in government and has no power whatsoever? What is Romney planning to do to help? This can only hinder by wasting their time. Again he is demonstrating how full of himself he is, putting his campaign first before the citizens in need.

    October 30, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Jean

    Romney is a first class used car salesman, say anything.he thinks expediant at the time to achieve his goals. He could get away with it when he was CEO, no one dare dispute what the big boss says. He got that position from connections from his daddy just like Bush did. Don't neccessarily have to be brilliant, just hire smart people. He had the Brits calling him "Mitt the twit" the first day of a glad hand visit after he insulted them with his remark that he could do it bettter. Snob. . He was a poor excuse for a governor, didn't run again because he knew he would lose and ruin his chances to run for president. And he still sticks his foot in his mouth even with this FEMA remark! Like all CEO's he plans to do what they do best...delegate responsiblity to someone else and retire to the fancy office, look important.

    October 30, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. Kirk in michigan

    If i had half a trillion, i would give money to the effort, he can easily afford it, and he is only in the way otherwise, he knows this, but he is not about to spend his money on this. simple question, why would you vote for a man who is 30 points behind in a state he governed? they know him better than we do. this man has no bottom, he is a pathetic man, plain and simple

    October 30, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. michele

    Why in the world is FEMA and NWS wasting its time briefing Mitt Romney on their activities related to the hurricane? He's not their boss, and if he were, they wouldn't even have a job. Romney wants to slash the FEMA budget by nearly a billion dollars, and the Ryan budget reduces the NOAA budget.

    October 30, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Kevin

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that Obama deserves great credit for his response to the storm. Must be a kick in the face to Mittens when one of your supporters gives credit to Obama.

    October 30, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    Who is Romney kidding. There would never be a 3:00 am FEMA phone call in a Romney Administration. Romney stated quite clearly that he wanted to fire FEMA (as quoted by Romney):

    "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. [...] We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all." Presidential Primary, June 14, 2012

    He wasn't too worried about rising ocean levels either. Yeah, yeah ... I know. That was then, this is now.

    October 30, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Honestuck

    Why is Romney speaking with the FEMA? Have they made the decision to give the Presidency to Romney? I gues I am already convinced from all the made up polls that Obama is behind and will lose the election so when they tell us Romney is the new President we will say " that makes sense Obama has been behind in polls and Romney had the momentum going into November 6". However, I am confused, are you guys in the media jumping the gun here? Should'nt you wait until the 6 th to proclaim Romney the winner? Is'nt that what they told you to do?

    October 30, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. DaveC

    Another useless PR plug when these people have real work to do. They don't have time to pander to a wanna be failed politician. They are trying to save lives and property. What the heck does this guy even want to talk to them about? He is not the President or even a public official. Heck, he was a Governer six years ago.

    Note to Romney: Stop wasting people's important time who are doing important things like saving peoples lives and property and coordinating supplies and equipment to do just that. You can't look Presidential because frankly you are not the President (and never will be) and are just using this as a policitial event. Just stop it. Now.

    October 30, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Liberatus

    Good ol' opportunistic Mitt. Continues to campaign while the President, who has to work, goes back to the White House to address real issues.

    Way to take advantage of another bad situation. How long will it be before he blames the storm on Obama? If all power isn't restored and everything isn't cleaned up in a day?

    October 30, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. julie

    yea romney speaks to FEMA, he tells them do your job NOW because IF i'm elected president –you're FIRED, fema is a useless agency & i need that money for my rich friends/corporations, ...the state can take care of you victums
    and numbskulls will vote for this person that believe HE is ENTILTED to the presidency...

    OMIT MIT 2012 VOTE RICH LIVE POOR

    October 30, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Jannae

    President Obama understands how to lead a country. He put all election stuff on the backburner as soon as this crisis began. You'll see...Romney will use this devastating event to the hilt politically. He's evil.

    October 30, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Jason

    How is Romney even able to speak with FEMA. Last I checked Obama is President of the United States, Not Romney. The election is next tuesday. Romney thinks he slick, they can only be 1 President at a time and that is Barack Obama. And before you little right wingers say something about next week. Obama will be re-elected, so deal with it looser..

    October 30, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Jannae

    Romney has way overstepped his boundary by contacting FEMA. It's not is place to do so. Let President Obama take care of this crisis and we'll come out okay. Another reason to wonder why anyone would vote for the liar Romnocchio!

    October 30, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Matthew

    Let me see if I can explain this for those who dont understand. It is normal for the nominee of the two major parties to be briefed on things like disasters and national security from the agencies. If this had happened four years ago. both McCain and Obama would have been briefed the same way. Sorry if its to complicated for you people to understand.

    October 30, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. Sniffit

    CNN puts this article on top of the articles about what the actual sitting POTUS is doing about the storm? Could you be more obvious CNN? Mittens, while needing to be updated in case (god forbid) he wins, has ZERO authority to deal with this storm. Obama does and is busy enacting the measures that will be taken to deal with it. Which is really more important in terms of informing the public as to what is being done about the storm's aftermath? Hint: It's not the articles about Mittens getting to play pretend-POTUS during the election.

    October 30, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Jannae

    Romney is becoming a FEMA flip-flopper. What a liar...What next? Trust is #1 in any relationship, especially if it's our leader!!

    October 30, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. Jason

    Romney is just a "Canidate", I repeat to all right wingers, romney is just a "Canidate". There is only 1 president today and that is Barack Obama. Canidates don't need to speak with FEMA on natural disaters, Know your role and place Romney.

    October 30, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Not Ann

    "As the first responders, states (who just got crushed in a disaster) are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources (which are underwater locally but dry elsewhere) and assistance to where they are needed most," Henneberg said. "This includes help from the federal government (who won't have a budget) and FEMA(that won't exist)."

    Fixed that for you.

    October 30, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Jannae

    Remember when Bill Clinton went to Haiti for all the relief efforts after the earthquake? Can you envision Romney ever doing something like that now or in the future? Nothing wrong with wealthy people, but the Romney's are rich snobs...his wife is disgustingly snobby. Can't imagine her as our first lady.

    October 30, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Jannae

    We need FEMA and many, many, other government run agencies. People are kidding themselves who want to eliminate the so-called "big" government.

    October 30, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. some guy in New Hampshire

    Why was this showboater wasting federal officials' time during an emergency? Jeez, does this guy think he has to be the center of everything?

    October 30, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Jim

    Republicans always want a smaller federal government except when they need money for their states from the federal government. Hypocrites!

    October 30, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. Middle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    I have never seen a candidate pander and lie so much. Where is your moral compass, sir? This man is scary and his supporters are absolutely clueless. I can't wait until this election is over so my mind can be at ease again.

    Let's re-elect our President and keep moving forward with PROVEN leadership.

    October 30, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Jannae

    Who does Romney think he is acting as if he's the President and contacting FEMA? There are sure some dumb people out there who support him and are duped by his out of line behavior.

    October 30, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. Romney Want To Get Rid Of FEMA

    But Romney wants to get rid of FEMA. Duh!

    October 30, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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