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.
I've finally figured out the key to understanding Romney's positions. First, you have to find out what he said during the primaries and assign that a factor of 2. Then take what he said at the end of each ensuing month and give them each a factor of a number larger than that of the preceding month but one that does not exceed 5. Now take what he said in each of the debates and give each a factor of 1 or 3 depending on how convincing he was. Now it gets complicated. Take all the factors and total them and divide by a factor between 7 and 11 but not 9. If you had done all these steps correctly, you should have arrived at the conclusion that Romney is an unpredictable pathological liar.
you mit azz kissers are as fake and stupid as your sorry azz romney......all of you are just pitiful –you put America to shame, and make america look stupid with your rants about your sorry fake azz wannbe president candidate –your heads are so far up mitt's azz logic and reason aludes you simpletons
VOTE RICH LIVE POOR......OMIT NITWIT MITT 2012
Mitt talked to FEMA, about what? He is not prez, what could he possibly have to talk to them about?
Romney is briefed because he is a candidate for President, the same way Obama was briefed when he was a candidate for President. Please note that Obama followed Romney's lead and postponed campaigning. It's nice to see though that Obama has finally participated in a briefing. He hadn't yet participated in a single briefing on the terror attack in Benghazi because he was too busy campaigning. Shameful
Why do we care if Romney spoke with FEMA? He's a citizen like the rest of us and not the President so what power does he have right now? None! It would be like me calling them.
Romney is briefed because he is a candidate for President, the same way Obama was briefed when he was a candidate for President. Please note that Obama followed Romney's lead and postponed campaigning. It's nice to see though that Obama has finally participated in a briefing. He hadn't yet participated in a single briefing on the terror attack in Benghazi because he was too busy campaigning. Shameful!
Romney should remember how long it can take to get the authorization for a state to get help from thd federal government or a neighboring state. Think how much help a state can provide when an entire region is devistated and every other state is in the same predicament?
A reminder to all. Not only did the twit want to get rid of FEMA and its on record during the rethug primaries but lyan altar boy was instrumental in cutting funds for FEMA!!!
The red cross needs money not canned goods but nice of this sick disgusting campaign to run a video if how wonderful this pathetic liar is.
Makes you want to puke!
Lots of idiots posting nonsense here. Gov. Romney never said he wanted to get rid of FEMA. ....- Actually he DID say he wanted to get RID of FEMA so you sir are incorrect. Yes he also said it should go to the states WHICH shows the absolute terrible judgement that man has!!!
A state does NOT have the capability to response to something gargantuan like this! This is not like rescuing a cat from a tree! The fact that Romney says it should go to the state shows a lack of vision and a total lack of understanding. What if the state is small or poor? More Americans will die and be out of power etc if the state takes over! You of all people should know!!
Federal response to a national crisis should ALWAYS be under federal jurisdiction and responsibility NOT state!!!!!!
Return FEMA to the states? I fail to see how New Jersey is going to help rebuild New Jersey tomorrow.
Why is Romney meeting with FEMA. He has no Federal authority and he is no longer the Governor of a state. Stop worrying about trying to look presidential and don't get in the way of real relief efforts. He doesn't even want this agency. Someone please tell me how this race is even close.
Puh-leeze - did he tell them he'd cut their budget? Or does he have a different view this week? D-bag.
And now Mike Brown is criticizing the Obama adminstration because FEMA responded too quickly. Really, do Republicans really want to remind people of their incompetence during Katrina.
Romney is just trying to look presidential. He is wasting the time of our disaster relief workers. He's using the disaster for blatant opportunism. See it for what it is.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Romney's trickle down economics are a continuation of the same policies that got us in this mess that Obama is trying to fix.
You obviously don't live in Arizona, wherebeing corrupt, and having a sub-normal IQ and being a Republican are the only job qualifications for elected office. Arizona IS a disaster, and it can't fix anything itself.
Have I missed it or has Romney not mentioned MA once during all of this? I guess if they won't vote for him, they don't matter.
Romney is a walking disaster for America.
One day rips FEMA in favor of "privatizing" disaster rescue, the next he's got his sleeves rolled up and buddy buddy with FEMA?
He's a schitzophrenic dunce, and so are the mindless bowls lof jello who would consider this slimey eel for a president
Why is there so little coverage of Romney's conflict of interest by having some of the voting machines to be used in this election coming from a company his son owns? They can be the best machines ever built, but they should not be used in an election where his father is on the ticket. Are there really no other voting machine companies? There have been too many lies from Romney to accept anything on face value.
I bet Romney invited Halliburton to listen in on a muted phone.
Why in the world is he meeting with FEMA – just goes to show you he flip flops to his advantage, he thinks this will look good on his resume – give me a break – he and Ryan want to cut FEMA 40% – pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez
I just saw the video of Mitt saying it. He not only said shut down FEMA but also said it is even better if the disaster management is passed onto the private sector instead of state governments. For him, it's all about profits for rich folks, even if it involves peoples lives. If this main comes the POTUS, then I can tell right now that USA will never recover. It will be a disaster for us economically, politically, socially and security wise. The super rich will become more rich and they always have multiple citizenship's to move to another country. For the super rich, America is not the only place to live. They just want to buy the election and they want their man Mitt in the WH.
Mitt is an idiot. He held a "hurricane relief rally" (aka campaign rally) and told people to donate used clothes, food, and used shoes to the Red Cross. The Red Cross doesn't need or want those things. It sure seems like someone who wants to run the country would have taken five minutes to find out what the Red Cross needs before flapping his jaws at a campaign rally. What a moron.
Romney doesnt know what he wants. His superpack with karl rove, chaney, the kock bro's, rush, and hannity weren't around to make his mouth move. Romney is resembling the retired burger
King mascot more & more, everyday. Plastic looking with an enlarged creepy head. Should look like him anyway, Bain saved burger king. What a great way to idolize their leader. Has anyone else noticed the mormons haven't been advertising since mitty won the primary? Coincidence? Probly as much as the 'retired. BK mascot. What a bunch of mindless hypocrits.
Romney's vision is to give full autonomy back to the states while the bureaucrats in Washington DC skim off the top, sit on their duffs and eat scones. We are the United States of America, not the Separate but Equal States of America.
Did he remind FEMA how he wanted to abolish FEMA and turn over disaster management and relief to the states and to profit-making companies (like he wants to do for every other safety net issue)? At the very least radically reduce their budget? Didn't think so.