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.
MR has his hands in everything... I am surprised that we all aren't hearing his criticism of President Obama and FEMA. OH... I forgot he isn't talking to the media... only running lies on his political tv ads...
He talked to FEMA so he could pretend he was actually doing something helpful at his rally. That is beyond sorry. And I'm not suprised he only called the republican states. That's how it would be if he is elected. Only him and his will matter. The rest of us lazy not rich people don't deserve his valuable time. I had actually thought about voting for him just because I do think welfare is way out of control and needs to be overhauled, but there is just something not right with him, Obama is definitely the better choice of the two. Hopefully him trying to use this to his advantage will make people see him for the self serving person he is.
Obama 2012 for leadership with a human face
He is not the POTUS, so why is he speakling with FEMA, it's completely inappropriate as a candiadate that he would do that. However, again it shows how desperate he is and it also shows he has no respect for the U.S. Government at all. He want's to privatize FEMA? Mmmm
Romney is a disgrace...shame on him trying to use "Sandy" to score political points again...it makes me sick.
"Obama 2012 for leadership with a human face"
This x 1000
I can only say who cares if willard called FEMA. What if they said screw you willard we're busy? Now there's a strory
How silly is that picture of MR handing out bags of Cambell's soup and shaking hands. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Over the last two years, Congressional Republicans have forced a 43 percent reduction in the primary FEMA grants that pay for disaster preparedness. Representatives Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and other House Republicans have repeatedly tried to refuse FEMA’s budget requests when disasters are more expensive than predicted, or have demanded that other valuable programs be cut to pay for them. The Ryan budget, which Mr. Romney praised as “an excellent piece of work,” would result in severe cutbacks to the agency, as would the Republican-instigated sequester, which would cut disaster relief by 8.2 percent on top of earlier reductions. If not for President Obama restoring the guts that GW Bush did and the Republicans have attempted, FEMA would be incapable of responding – very similar to the Katrina crisis. Further, in low-tax states like Texas and Louisiana – Romney and the Republicans REALLY think such states are capable of adequate response? NOT!!!
How do you storm victims feel about that?
Jeeze guys, leave poor romney alone. Obama is working for the american people so he has to do something too instead of sitting out and sucking his thumbs....btw, this wld be a good time to shutdown that camen bank account and donate it for disaster recovery...that gesture wld sure buy him the persistency.
As a staunch Christian, I see that Romney is a guy who does the exact opposite of Jesus' teachings with regards to helping those in need when natural disaster strikes, like his lack of support for FEMA and recommending the states to deal with disasters themselves. Everyone knows the states need federal assistance in terms of funding and emergency personnel ready to help in times of hardship. Shame on Romney. He will never have my vote!
Lies, lies, lies. Everything he says always has to be 'clarified' when he is called on the carpet about it. How can we have him deal with foreign countries? And he was campaigning in Iowa while we Pennsylvanians and our neighbors were suffering through the storm. I am sooo disgusted.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those that are in Sandys path. Is this the time government should step in and help people or should we be worried about the National deficit? This storm is a message form nature telling us we need each other. Somethings are actulally beyond our control. One day you may find yourself needing help from the government. When the big insurance companies start denying claims after the storm the government will be forced to help again. t
Why is Romney calling FEMA? To score brownie points!
Maybe in trying to work with FEMA, Romney is looking out for those millionaires that got wet basements- they'll need big tax cuts you know!
Over the past two years, Congressoinal Republicans have forced a 43% reduction in primary FEMA grants that pay for disaster preparedness. Rep. Paul Ryna, Eric Cantor and other House Republicans have repeatedly tried to refuse FEMA's budget requests when disasters are more expensive that predicted – or cut other programs to pay for such expensive disasters. Romney has praised Ryan's attempts at gutting FEMA as "an excellent piece of work." Romney says we should return much of the responsibility for disaster relief to the states. Does he really think that low-tax states like Louisiana or Texas are capable of adequate responses in such cases??? These states can't even respond adequately to the needs of their most vulnerable – children – on a day-to-day basis – much less a major catastrophe.
Romney just called to tell FEMA 'Your fired'.
The President's reaction to this storm is going to win him the election. He spent his time in Washington and said the election will ' sort itself out'.
While Romney kept campaigning.
How mighty white of him to take a few minutes out of his day to meet with a govt agency that he wants to get rid of.
Election day will blow that fake smile right off your face, Mittens.
He is the best candidate for POS, oh sorry, did I forget a few letters????????
Yes Mitt! Disaster relief should be controlled by the states, in a larger part. The mess in LA was because of poor coordination of response...the system is another federal burecratic mess. But don't expect the Marxist obama and his ilk to give up federal power for any reason...it's not in their DNA.
Obama's first impulse as the storm approached was to fire up OUR Airforce One and fly off the Florida for two campaign events. This is tuypical of the obama presidency (if you can call it that)...self promotion first and if there is time after go and smoozing with celebs then run the country (if you can call it that). Mitt is what a real America loving acomplished leader looks like...God Bless America.
"TRENDING: Romney speaks with FEMA"
Trending: CNN tries desperately all day to sell Mittens as presidential and somehow involved in the FEMA response to the sotrm's devastation.
Hint: This isn't "trending."
Hint: This isn't important.
Hint: Mittens isn't involved or in any way contributing to FEMA's and the federal government's response under Obama's direction and leadership.
Hint: Mittens had a tiny little "hey what's up?" phone call with FEMA and has had ZERO other involvement and the Red Cross is even telling him to shut up about donations at this point because that's not what they need.
The occasional repug comment here that says that Democrats are lying about Romney's postion on F.E.M.A. funding are almost as absurd as Romney's cheap and opportunistic 20 min. phonecall with F.E.M.A.
These people should be turned away at the polls and denied the right to vote for being so damned stupid!!
Fox News asked Chris Christie if he'd be willing to do a photo-op with Mitt at the hurricane relief effort. His response: "I'm not the least bit interested. I've got a job to do that's much bigger than Presidential politics. I couldn't care less about Presidential politics at this point. I've got people to look after."
Bravo Gov. Christie for showing Mitt and Co. what a real candidate ought to look like.
Sorry Mittens this will not help you in anyway possible everybody already knows you want to privatize FEMA. So do us all a favor and just stay out of the way your not POTUS.
The sight of him sickens me, if I worked at FEMA I wouldn't have even spoken to him; he and Crossroads will do anything to try and steal this election.