(CNN) – With a week to go until Election Day and a day after superstorm Sandy slammed the East Coast, Republican nominee Mitt Romney swapped campaign rallies for a relief event in the all-important battleground state of Ohio Tuesday.
"We have heavy hearts as you know with all the suffering going on in a major part of our country. A lot of people are hurting this morning," said Romney, adding that he had the chance to speak with some of the governors from the affected areas.
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The storm had killed 29 in the United States with a total of 97 deaths overall, including 67 in the Caribbean, as of Tuesday.
The former Massachusetts governor thanked supporters for their generosity and equated the Ohio crowd's relief effort to those of citizens of his home state in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama updated on Sandy through the night; praised by Christie
After addressing the crowd briefly, the GOP nominee hopped off a makeshift stage to glad-hand with supporters and collect items as they filed past to donate relief goods like bottled water, canned foods and fleece blankets.
Romney's campaign told reporters that a Red Cross warehouse in New Jersey was accepting the donation, and distributed a statement they attributed to the Red Cross.
"The American Red Cross appreciates the support from the Romney campaign and is working with the campaign to process this donation of supplies," the statement read. "We are grateful that both the Obama and Romney campaigns have also encouraged the public to send financial donations to the Red Cross. We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood."
He did not answer questions from reporters on whether he would eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency as president - a topic the storm brought back into the political spotlight from the Republican primaries when Romney said he favored states taking a larger role in disaster relief.
Meanwhile, running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will stop by campaign offices in his home state of Wisconsin Tuesday to thank volunteers and collect items for storm relief efforts.
President Barack Obama's campaign cancelled events for Monday and Tuesday, flying back to Washington, D.C. to monitor the storm, as well as campaign events for Wednesday in Ohio.
–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Dana Davidsen and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
But don't worry he is running 'relief rallies' instead of campaign events..... in Ohio and Wisconsin, where im pretty sure the storm didnt even hit.
The campaign announced they would load supplies into a campaign bus for delivery in Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania – all swing states impacted by the storm.
This is just so pathetic. Limiting his relief efforts to swing states? Another sign he only cares about you if there is a chance of you voting for him. Just like he said in May on the hidden tape. Can't hide who you really are no matter how much you try.
And CNN's "All Romney, All the Time" coverage of the storm continues unabated. How much money are you receiving in ad reveune from his PACs, CNN?
Shameful pandering going on in your campaign, Mr. Mittens. Just shameful.
Somewhere there's a tape of him talking about how those people think they're entitled to food and medical care. Sickening.
Awwe, Williard is meeting with the 47%. I'm sure he has a gallon size bottle of Purell hand sanitizer so the smell of "commoner" won't linger when he fundraises behind close doors.
Take your canned goods and shve them where the sun don't shine. Why won't you reach out to New York Willard???
Yet today, he wouldn't answer his comments in the primary debates on FEMA. Silence.
Guess you have to keep campaigning when you are running behind. Of course he would not answer reporters questions about FEMA. He thinks the American people have forgot he said he was going to do away with FEMA. Vote OBAMA 2012.
Shameless self promotion. Everyone who is desperate is an opportunity for Mitt. Even though he has absolutely no use for compassion for 47% of them. Now that's presidential material.
Pander, pander, pander.
Romney did nothing to help as Governor during flooding in Massachusetts back in the day, fundraising in North Carolina during the green river flood, and vetoing preventive measures in Peabody.
And here he is on CNN with ten, fifteen cans of soup?? Mitt is not only a weak leader, he will be BAD for the economy.
Remember just a few short months ago Romney wanted to eliminate FEMA and give it to the states or "better yet,
privatize it" he said. Can you imagine what it would have been like. Even Chris Christie thanked Pres. Obama and FEMA for an amazing reachout!
So – taking donations from folks who probably are unemployed or underemployed? That's his idea of helping? Why doesn't MItt just open his wallett if he is so concerned about the people affected. Oh that's right, he only donates to Chruch related charities. Sorry, I forgot that one. I undertand New York and New Jersey got the worse of it, is his bus not going there?
This man and his attempt to look Presidential is pathetic! He is a liar and a sham artist. Even his own Dad (look it up if you don't believe me) said Mitt would say whatever he needed to, to get the results he wanted. People – please be very wary of Romney. If he gets in to the White House, we will all pay for it!!
This is his policy. He believes that this should be left up to churches and neighbors. This is his ideology that thinks since he occasionally helps an individual means he is a good man and it helps the country. Yes, it is a good deed to hep anyone but he has the ability to help the masses through his policies he can touch millions. Not just 1-10 people he chooses to help. Not just 1 church. This guy is as creepy as it gets and I hope the American people call him out on it or we deserve lying politicians.
Romney doesnt care about the people affected by this storm.. he only wants to appear as if he cares. The fact that he is getting supplies for only the swing states should tell you something. God help us if this guy wins..
So the ultimate opportunist is back at it again. Funny, he sending all his supporters donations to PA, VA, NH, NC, when NJ and NY were the ones that were badly hit the most. Yeah, I guess since NY and NJ are out of play in Obama favor he will just focus on the states that he has a chance to win to buy more votes.
Those people should ask him about his response about FEMA and how he will cut their funding. Oh Yeah, by the end of the week he will change his tune like the ultimate Flip Flopper Mitts is!
The Red Cross has asked people to NOT donate hard items but to donate cash. Physical donations require sorting, repackaging, shipping. It just makes their job all the harder.
cynical swing state pandering, disguising a campaign rally as a food drive. Why is he not going to New Jersey, Connecticut or New York?
"Take your canned goods and shve them where the sun don't shine. "
Between the stick and his head, there's very little room left. Maybe if he uses another orifice?
Instead of repeating what the campaigns tell you is going on, why not report what actually happened? Romney took the stage after his bio-film played...just like a normal campaign rally. I trust CNN has out a reporter on the case to follow those "relief supplies".
I'll let you Obama guys in on a little secret – when your guy is fading down the stretch and the other guy is surging, all articles on CNN appear to favor the opponent. That's just the way it seems. Believe me, I've been where you guys are – it was only a month or so ago when I felt the same way – Romney was fading and Obama was surging, and CNN seemed to want to remind me of it every day. This thing is going to be close. Romney 2012!!!
They will be hurting 1000 times more if Romney and the Republicans get control of Government. Remember the Great Recession that the Republican caused. WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT.
Maybe Mitt can buy up the devastated properties and rent them back to the former owners, or, just evict them...that's in keeping with his typical solution for everything: make a profit on other people's misery.
Yes. Let's dismantle FEMA and make states pay for their own disaster relief.