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. Andrew

    Just read Mitt scheduled "relief events' instead of campaign stops (like there is a difference)....... In OHIO AND WISCONSIN. If he was serious, he would go to the places where there was actual damage from the storm. PATHETIC!

    October 30, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Romney: The Shoot from the Hip Kind of Guy

    He always seems to be back tracking and pulling his foot out of his mouth, doesn't he.

    October 30, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. kathyjoe1

    Typical Romney: Work for me, so I can fire you later....This man infuriates me. I just got back from voting for President Obama!

    October 30, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Alina1

    Is this the same FEMA that Romney wanted to abolish , privatize and give it to States mercy? ROMNEY IS A BIG WALKING MISTAKE.

    October 30, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Rachael in LA

    Imagine taking advantage of a disaster and millions of Americans' misery in order to appear "Presidential". Well, you're NOT President Mr. Romney, not yet anyway. Quit wasting these people's time just to get a photo op. It wasn't too long ago you wanted to get RID of FEMA, now you're chatting them up? How predictably hypocrital.

    October 30, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Planner922

    Are any of you are that the Red Cross when it was under the direction of Elizabeth Dole, charged people for relief items such as bottled water, sanitary napkins, extra blankets, washing powder?
    Didn't think you knew that. It's why I don't contribute to the Red Cross.
    It happened in Louisiana in cas you are wondering. Can't stand the idea of some corporation making money out of human misery.

    October 30, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. David

    I thought this guy wanted to do away with FEMA and "privatize" it...nothing like making money off someone else's loss. I guess when you are "running" for President, you have to behave "differently" than when you were running for the nomination. I wonder what his "view" of FEMA really is? Can't have it both ways.

    October 30, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Randy

    Any individual in a position to assume the role of president should be briefed on major events such as this. Instead of venting your anger, think about the 29 Americans who are dead, the millions in the dark, or those who have no home to return to as a result of this destruction.

    October 30, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Togo

    When they say "talked" do you suppose they really mean "listened and occasionally looked concerned and nodded when the cameras were rolling"?

    October 30, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Blue State Disaster

    The blue states are already voting for Obama.

    October 30, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Liam

    Isn't it hilarious Obama finally seems engaged in his job. He hasn't shown up in the briefing room in almost a month either on Libya, or anything else for that matter. He is playing President again for few lackluster days.

    October 30, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Mitt Romney five sons all avoided military service in times of war .

    The man for the job , the next President of America.

    I can't wait for GW Bush to feel free to come out of his hole again.

    October 30, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. marylou

    Mitt has not stopped stumping his lies and will continue his campaigning in florida tomorrow. Obama has shown class in stopping his campaigning yesterday and has been commended by Republican governors for his immediate support by declaring NY and NJ disaster areas and sending in FEMA which Romney wants to send back to the states for support. This is going to be a positive reflection on our president and an eye opener for those who considered voting for Romney and his Romnesia.

    October 30, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. John

    why? for what possible reason?? he holds not public office whatsoever!

    October 30, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. RINO in NC

    and just not that long ago he explicitly said that he was going to get RID of FEMA and other federal emergency response agencies! Over the years he had said he was going to cut funding for weather research and R & D as well.
    Now this disaster happens and he's all into photo ops and trying to 'look' presidential and suddenly praising FEMA etc....!!!
    Romney is a total hack!!!! makes me sick!

    October 30, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. allens

    didn't romney want to abolish fema? why is he wasting their time, he is nothing but a candidate? a better question, why is he wasting our time?

    October 30, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Dayne O'Flynn

    Romney is a candate for President and he sat in on the confrence call. Anybody tha has lived through a natural disaster gives FEMA to much credit. It is the private donations by people that help fund the true recovery of a natural disaster. During the election in 2008 both republican and democrat candadates sat in on things like this. Is Romney the best candidate in the US for president .. probably no, but the best candidate never runs for president, because they are smart enough to know it isn't worth it.

    Living down in Florida proves that FEMA helps but everything comes to slow because of goverment regulations. National Guard helps and local officals help with rescues and reconstruction. Romney asked to give to the Red Cross which was the right thing to do, and I bet you he gave a large donation too. If all you can do is lay out threats and dooms day senarios to a candate because he is a republican then your words don't hold much weight.

    I am happy the President actually left Flordia to make it back in Washington DC before the storm hit, he would of been there at a ralley if he could of I am sure.

    October 30, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. RINO in NC

    and just not that long ago he explicitly said that he was going to get RID of FEMA and other federal emergency response agencies! Over the years he had said he was going to cut funding for weather research and R & D as well.
    Now this disaster happens and he's all into photo ops and trying to 'look' presidential and suddenly praising FEMA etc....!!!
    makes me sick!

    October 30, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Del Miller

    This is utterly inappropriate! Who the hell does this guy think he is! One more example of this conceited arrogant
    person!!!

    October 30, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. pkrbkr

    This guy has NO core! He stated he wanted to turn FEMA over to the states.....now he's photo-op and trying to gain advantage from a storm......I can't even think of words to describe this guy....repulsive is the one that comes to mind! Shame on him and the Republican party for nominating him!

    October 30, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. SusieKJ

    Romney having a briefing with FEMA is like Richard Dawkins having a briefing with the Vatican.

    October 30, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. rare_earth

    How in the heck does 'citizen romney' get in on contacting FEMA?

    October 30, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Kim in NC

    Why in the world does Mitt Romney need to get briefed on anything....he is NOT the PRESIDENT, nor is he any longer a sitting Gov of any state. Just like him to use this disaster as a chance to inject politics for his gain once again. I will be so glad when the election is over and he is a "non- issue" again.

    October 30, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Kimberly

    Mitt doesnt need to be talking to FEMA- he is NOT the president, never WILL BE president, and looks like an idiot trying to act like his opinion matters in any of this! Hes so fake he makes me sick!

    October 30, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Anne

    Romney/Ryan campaign is organizing storm relief events. You liberals are awful creatures with no heart. And Christie was a gentleman recognizing what Obama did well which means nothing in terms of supporting his re-election.

    And Mr. Obama is just doing his job. He approved federal support for some states. But FEMA work and federal support is paid with taxpayer contributions, so we, who pay federal income taxes, are actually helping. Thank you taxpayers!

    October 30, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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