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.
Mitt calling fema wow!! He trying to tell the American he ready to lead..Well Mr governor your time will if you win the white house, which I'm assume won't be happening!!
MITT ROMNEY WANTS TO PRIVATIZE FEMA
did he have another etch a sketch moment and changed his mind
So now the libs are finding fault with disaster relief activity for the folks that have suffered from Sandy? I thought that they were the most charitable party....(just with other peole's money?)
Willard Mitt Romney should have a meeting with his Religious Leaders to pray for forgiveness for constantly LYING about President Obama, his statements and policy to the American voters. I question Romney's values because of this Lying.
Transcript from 20 minute phone call with FEMA:
Romney: Hi FEMA!
FEMA: Didn't you publicly announce you wanted to shut us down? Why are you on this call? Please at least be quiet and let us get on with the job of helping people
Romney: (19 minutes of silence)
Romney: There's a war in Asia? Gotcha. I'll be in France. There's a hurricane? Great. I'll be in the midwest.
Romney is concerning of victims not politics..let all American focus to people who suffering right now
Why? He is not the president.
"The former Massachusetts governor encouraged supporters to donate to the American Red Cross. "We love our fellow Americans, wish them well!""
But only the 53% who pay taxes apparently.
Matt- Every candidate has the same access to information as the President after they receive their party's Nomination. Libertarian Candidate Johnson could also get the same info.
The only good thing about Romney getting elected will be hearing the cries of anguish from the poor and elderly who voted him in as they get owned by a natural disaster with no assistance what so ever. My apologies to any who voted for Obama and find themselves in this situation.
"And yes, it's not bad living in a red state. Less crazy people around you."
Ya, sucking up all the blue states tax dollars for your welfare populations makes everyone so docile and agreeable :D
Well, if Romney wants to get rid of healthcare for LIVING beings, then lets also get rid of crop insurance, flood insurance, FEMA, forget about repairing the beaches in NJ or road and bridges. There's a whole lot of stuff Romney can get rid of now. Lets see if he will keep his word and tell these people in the northeast they are on their on, "we cant play that game", I bet he won't say anything like that, but I bet everyone of the republicans are fuming under their breath about having to pay out for something other than military stuff.
@IVOTE.....give me ONE instance with proof that he was lying!!!!
geez all he had to do was watch the news to figure out lots of families would be affected. did he really have to bother fema? and as for asking people to donate money or help, geez we already do that too
what was the point of this?
Really? Did he tell them that he wants to get rid of all of them?
With all due respect, Mitt supporter or not, what business does Mitt have dealing with the federal agencies on the storm? He has no authority or power to do anything related to this storm or anything else. I wonder if I should call the Directors of FEMA and DOD to get an update on the storm since I live here. What he could do is donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc or lend a helping hand in the clean up. It is truly sad that this candidate is using such a horrific tragedy to most as an attempt to help his pathetic campaign. My decision for this election has been finally made. Ill go with the gentleman putting his campaign aside to help those in need rather than the one making phone calls for no reason and campaigning.
oh and by the way, I can give you many time Obama did!!!! Look at his 2008 campaign promises!!!!
Poór guy.he looks lost n confused.even Sandy came in the way to prove how good our president is.folks wake up,romney is fake.
@Ancient Texan- People aren't against disaster relief. We just think it is very hypocritical that Romney is actually acting like he cares since he wanted to get rid of FEMA and the federal disaster funds.
Why is he calling fema?
Was Romney satisfied by FEMA that they will be able to handle this situation? WOW NOW THAT IS ANOTHER NEW CHANGE! I also like his truthfulness, "NEW CHANGE" since the last won that he presented a moment ago was old. I have never seen anybody just so shamelessly getting up everyday and talk to people with such a straight face.
Disaster Emergency Management is the state's responsibility now. When response to a disaster has exceeded the state's capabilities that state must declare a state of emergency and ask for federal assistance. After the State gets an approved disaster declaration from the President federal resources and personnel respond "at the state's invitation".
Why all topics about Romney. Is this CNN or Fox news?
Romney said in the primaries he wants to dismantle FEMA and now he is calling them. Amazing!
Instead of asking the American Red Cross what they could use, Mitt took it upon himself to just ask for goods to donate at his "not campaigning event" in Ohio. Now the American Red Cross has used clothing and food items they have to pick up, sort/store, deliver, etc. Mitt should have communicated with them or like most Americans should have known that the American Red Cross requests $ at times of a disaster. So not Presidential.