Romney speaks with FEMA
October 29th, 2012
06:48 PM ET
10 years 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.

- 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.

Filed under: 2012 • FEMA • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (985 Responses)
  1. Florida Joe

    This guy is disgusting........Take advantage of any opportunity.........Stop wating their time and let them do their job
    Aren't you the one that said it was wrong to have the Govt Fema program, you said it was a disgrace to use taxpayers money to save people.........You sir are pathetic and will do or say anything to get elected. I am from MA and there is a good reason why you are 30 points behind there.......They know you Mitt and you are NOT PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL

    October 30, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  2. bucman

    FEMA? I love FEMA. Best agency every and doing the Lord's work. Mitt today.

    FEMA? Get the federal government out of the state's hair, they can do everything better. Mitt in 2011

    The guy stands for nothing and everything. Vote Obama.

    October 30, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  3. psp

    Agree with many, what on earth is Romney doing attempting to inject himself into FEMA..... Where is his judgement that this is NOT the time or place for his 'face time'. Dangerous, dangerous man... People.... after this storm passes... those in the area.. Please, go help those that need help getting to the polls to do so.... We simply cannot let this bozo get into office!

    October 30, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  4. quelee

    Is this the same Romney who just a few months ago said that he would get rid of FEMA? This man just says what he needs to say at the moment.

    October 30, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. mrkidd

    This has been the story of his entire campaign, trying to LOOK presidential.

    October 30, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  6. Vote_ind

    Leave FEMA alone, Romney! They have REAL work to do.

    October 30, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. mego98125

    Actually, Romney was probably 'talking to FEMA' because as the 'other candidate' he has started to receive briefings from the government. The problem with Romney is then he rushes to the microphone to make sure YOU know he 'cares'. He doesn't. He has an ideological view of 'government' and spews it. Then with REAL LIFE emergencies he has to ACTUALLY care and it doesn't come easy. We have no idea what he would do if he was President. With Obama you know.

    October 30, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Well, there is one upside to Romney talking to FEMA. It further exposes his hypocrisy and general vileness. Of course this won't matter to the dupes that are voting for him, but hopefully anyone on the fence will have the two brain cells to rub together and get the picture.

    October 30, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. AVarner Man

    The last thing FEMA needs now is a grandstander like Romney butting in. Before today (Tuesday) is out, he will be criticizing President Obama for not doing enough to keep the storm away from the United States.

    Romney is a bigger blowhard than Sandy.

    October 30, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. calculated get his name in the news. I'm sure a statement reversing his position on global warming is imminent. In June, he also went on to say that he would not just move FEMA to the states but to the private sector. Can't wait for Ryan's photo-op handing out relief packages to people on the beach in Florida pretending its New Jersey.

    October 30, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. Lucha

    Mr. Romney is correct in letting states take care of the first disaster management as Bush tried to do with Mayor Nagin with Katrina which Nagin FAILED and with which Bush was left holding the bag (even though that was the protocol). It is the state's job then to turn to the federal government and ask for the needed help. They are there on the ground and can give the best estimate of needs. NOT the federal nanny.

    October 30, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  12. John

    They call them national disasters because they are to big for the states to handle themselves.

    October 30, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. Maryellen

    Romney and Ryan who want to cut FEMA's budget by 41%. This guy is pathetic, get out of the way and let President Obama and FEMA do their job. This man doesn't have any common sense, he is not a public official, he is just politizing this horrible event!

    October 30, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  14. Maria

    If Romney gets elected he will be promoting disaster vouchers!! Like health care vouchers, school vouchers....

    October 30, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. Tshim

    Fellow Americans,
    Do you truly believe Paul Ryan to assume the responsibility as President of the USA?
    Are you kidding? Is this what America has to offer for presidency of such a great and powerful country?

    October 30, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  16. Chaos

    No way this guy should be using up time of offcials in the middle of a crisis. Not just the time on the phione but the backround run around as well. Ridiculous.

    October 30, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Rick 7809

    The next thing Mittens will try to do is get in a helicopter over New Jersey (he won't go over New York because they are a blue state) and get in the way of the work for a photo op.

    October 30, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  18. simp

    CNN why are you even giving this liar any air time? He has no political office and he is only a candate, if you must report , report on how how he said he would dismantle FEMA, that's all you should be talking about and the fact that this liar romney lied about jeep moving to China. Give us the real news, not the news that's irreveleant. Good Grief!!!

    October 30, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  19. pntherpaw86

    Let me guess, if the cleanup efforts go well and our brave men and women first-responders do an excellent job, Romney will try and claim credit for their actions. Why is FEMA even wasting their time on this clown???

    October 30, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. beevee

    Another ploy by the Romney campaign to score political points. Romeny should sit on the sidelines and let president Obama handle the situation. Romney does not hold any office, he is only a candidate.

    October 30, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  21. FactCheck

    "I can see the East Coast from Iowa."- Mitt Romney

    October 30, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  22. God Bless America

    This man is a disgrace and frankly all his flip fops is making me very angry.

    October 30, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  23. Akr

    Romney wants to guy FEMA if elected into office. We cannot let this man become our President.

    October 30, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  24. Saboth

    Romney speaks with FEMA? I bet it went like this. "I like FEMA, I like you. But I'm going to eliminate you. We'll just privatize disaster relief. It worked SO well for health insurance didn't it?"

    October 30, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  25. Mandy

    Romney has no dog in this hunt yet!!! He has no right to be brought in to discuss anything with FEMA. You are not the President Mr. Romney. You, like all the other civilians should stay home..out of the way...and let the first responders do their jobs. We don't need your two cents worth in this tragedy. Next couple of days you will be screaming what a terrible job Obama has done with this disaster. Just stay out of it and take this time to read through your binders full of women.

    October 30, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40