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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
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.
Geez, Conservative Republicans turn my stomach. They all want less government but I bet they're calling for help now that their properties are under water.
Do away with FEMA and give the funding to the states as needed. FEMA'S internal budget is 11 billion a year. That is 11 billion they can use to fund disasters at the state level saving American Taxpayers 11 billion a year. Romney never once said privatize it, he doesn't propose that and no one supports that. Just another liberal distortion and misdirection,.
Donate to the Red Cross. Really Miit? Why don't you. You have billions and a lot to spare. Mitt you are so out of touch with more than the 47%. I hope GOD realizes you are not meant to be president to this country. You are nothing but a waxman bag of hot air.
Too bad Governor Christie wasn't the Republican candidate for President.
He will be in 2016. Christie is a smart guy and knew that the only chance of a close race would be if he lie through his teeth and showed absolutely no moral core. Christie does not have it in himself to be this despicable. Romney on the other hand...
I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm saying it as someone who is genuinely concerned for Christie's health: He needs to take better care of himself if he hopes to see 2016. He needed the podium to prop himself up the entire time – even before the storm made landfall. Granted, it's extremely stressful when a monster storm is heading for your coastline, but the Governors from the other states didn't look like they were about to fall out. As someone who grew up without a dad because he refused to see a doctor for a condition that ended up leaving my mom alone with four young children, my advice to Governor Christie is to see a doctor and start leading a healthier lifestyle – if not for himself, for his wife and children. Your kids need their dad, Governor!
Mitt Romney sickens me on every level.
bob, he did say that it would be even better if you privatize it.
"Do away with FEMA and give the funding to the states as needed. FEMA'S internal budget is 11 billion a year. That is 11 billion they can use to fund disasters at the state level saving American Taxpayers 11 billion a year."
You think that $11B grows on trees as long as it's not part of the federal government's budget?
HonestDave says: I give him a 6.5 on his double back with a twist flip on this one.
I'm disapppointed with HonestDave's score. I didn't realize that stunt could even be done by a human, but Robme did it...and with style, and all he gets is a 6.5, Dave? It's at least an 8.0. Got me believin'...well, maybe Dave's right. To get an 8.0, he would have needed a 'flop' at the end of that twist flip. 6.5 it is!!!
"Please stop politicizing the storm Gov Romney. Why aren'y you in Massachusetts where many have no power if you are so concerned instead of in Iowa?"
Psst. Massachusetts is going for that other guy. Romney still thinks he has a shot at winning Iowa. Massachusetts, not so much. He's been there, done that in Massachusetts. Apparently, he wasn't a very popular Governor in Massachusetts. Why go back now when he still has Iowa and Virginia folks eager to listen to his lies and pandering?
Reply to Bob: remeber that was agreeded apon by the Congress also. It was not set in place by the President alone.
This is the guy that says the States should fend for themselves. Yet again he is doing another 360. This guy is the most dishonest person ever to run for President. Romney has no moral. He will lie, cheat, steal and change his position in a heartbeat to sound reasonable and con people. Romney and the Republicans would let the States fend for themselves. The Republican agenda is everyone is for themselves and to hell with everyone else. That is not the American way and we MUST not fall for what the Republicans are selling. Remember the last time we bought what they were selling? It was not that long ago. And remember what happened? We almost lost everything. We MUST never forget. DO NOT BUY WHAT THEY ARE SELLING.
I am wondering God forbid if elected of president Myth Robemey on Monday will be the same on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday or ..... You get the idea or should we get an hourly update of his state because this guy is all over the map o am lost not even a GPS can keep up with this guy. God please save us. I am an engineer under employed I am Making 30% of what I am suppose to make with a master degree I. Electrical engineering I'll vote for anyone that can give a job at least with Obama you know what you gonna get but with Myth Robemey I really dnt know it's like a box of chocolate full of surprises.
Someone should do an analysis of why Romney is acting like he's president already. He's not even a member of the federal government. He's not even governor of Massachusetts at the moment. He has no dog in this fight except his mansions. FEMA should have said, "We don't speak to members of the general public on these matters, sir," or "Thank you, sir, but the President has this under control."
"Hi, FEMA? Mitt here. Before I kick you to the curb, I just want to tell you what a great job you're doing."
This man is not to be trusted – a complete fraud.
hey since Romney can sit in and get debriefed by FEMA why don't we all call in and get the same privilege1
Why is Mitt Romney surfacing during this difficult time, because he wants to make sure you dont forget he exist. He politicizes everything. America you better wake up, because this man will take this country down a dark path. Remember that 47%, he talked behind closed doors, that is you , your neighbor, your closest uncle, your closet aunt and your parents, unless they make $250,000 a year. We better unite and keep the president in office, do it for the sake of your relatives and yourself. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
Sadly, most Republicans and especially the tea people won't see this for what it is – a political ploy to make himself look all presidential and compassionate. My tea relatives remind me of those three monkeys – only in this case it's "See no Truth, Hear no Truth, Speak no Truth."
I wonder if he reminded them that some concocted private industry "thing" (with Bain tentacles in it) could do a better job than they do.
Do away with FEMA and give the funding to the states as needed. FEMA'S internal budget is 11 billion a year. That is 11 billion they can use to fund disasters at the state level saving American Taxpayers 11 billion a year. Romney never once said privatize it, he doesn't propose that and no one supports that. Just another liberal distortion and misdirection,."
This is what is wrong with conservatives. How do you save $11 billion if you are just giving it to the states to spend? You don't.
BTW, Romney said that anything you can take away from the fed govt and give to the states is great. And if it can be given to the private sector, even better. Now, after a few weeks of republicans haggling over whether or not Obama said "acts of terror", I don't think you wanna be up here attempting to mince words.
Cute. Pretending to be president. Why didn't you just burst into the President's press conference?
I can believe FEMA let him in on a call because of the class and thoughtfulness of our current administration, because in the end like Barack Obama knows we are all Americans.
Wake up! Romney voters: The guy is a total self serving fraud! Really listen! He's is fooling YOU.
"Romney wasn't even advocating that the states should handle it. He was advocating that it should be PRIVATIZED. Read the full quote."
It would do you a world of good to read the whole quote yourself. He absolutely was advocating that the states should "handle it" through ... surpise, surprise ... private equity. State by state.