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.

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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.

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


    If this man gets elected, I will have lost all faith in the American people and be moving to Canada
    Amen! You have a man here that's demonstrated his questionable actions (taxes and employment) - and folks want to entrust him with this country?

    October 30, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "all that happened was Romney listened in on a 20 minute phone call of some official discussion probably to just get the scoop on what is going on."

    Yep. That's it. He got a little briefing in case he manages to become POTUS. But, apparently, CNN thinks that's so important to today's news that it should be at the top of the Ticke, while stories about what the real POTUS is actually doing about the storm get pushed down and buried. CNN is insulting the entire northeast.

    October 30, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. becky

    The news reports say that he also called the Governor of NJ and Va – two Republican governors. Guess he wanted to make sure they had everything they needed. Didn't say what he could do.

    President Obama did was he has done many times before, we made sure all governors knew they would have the assistance they needed. He was looking to them to report what they would need. However, the wheels of FEMA were moving quickly. Every time there is a natural disaster and FEMA responds money is added to the deficit. WE all need to understand that fact because we have had more than our share of natural disasters over the last four years. Each one has been handled in a timely fashion. Think about that on Tuesday and think about foreign affairs. Think about Mr. Romney's entrance on the foreign policy stage. He insulted the British with his first statements.

    October 30, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Ann in Ohio

    Romney is in Dayton, Ohio as we speak holding a "storm relief event" to collect relief supplies. The trouble is that the Red Cross does not accept donations of physical goods for relief efforts such as this. Hmmm...why does the Press Pass label this event "Victory Rally", and why are they playing their campaign video from the RNC? Seriously, does this man have no shame?

    October 30, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "If Romney and republicans are so much against the govenrment, why are they part of it and want to be part of it?"

    Gov't is one of those funny things that you can only really break and destroy from the inside. The only way to do it from the outside is extremely messy and difficult...but hey, if their efforts to do it from the inside don't work, they can always fall back on having followed France's example from the 1800's and thereby incited most of the public to do the job from the outside later.

    October 30, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. Barry

    You know, since he started saying things that I want to hear, and quit insulting me, I like him much better. Funny what lying can do for a candidate.

    October 30, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Old Hateful Greedy White men

    He said "FEMA, I'll privatize that" Its exactly what he said and why they didn't point that out in this article is beyond me!?
    He wants only those who can afford to pay for help, to get help. If your state is broke, you drown or burn or pay whatever the going price for rescue is, and since you'll be in no situation to argue, you're screwed either way!

    How anyone could elect that tool for anything, let alone POTUS is beyond me!

    October 30, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Gary Swanson

    This really isn't a good time for political grand-standing. Serious people have serious work to do.

    October 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. wesmorgan1

    I'm sure that the invitation to participate in the FEMA discussion was extended as a courtesy, along the same lines as the national security briefings Presidential candidates receive during the general election campaign. There's no story to be had in that regard.

    However, this does bring the "scope of government" question front and center in the campaign. During the GOP primary campaign, Romney forcefully advocated for many Federal roles, explicitly including disaster relief, to be devolved to the states; he also stated that it was "immoral" to spend money on disaster relief if said spending resulted in a deficit. It's entirely appropriate to discuss "big government' and Romney's specific positions in light of this disaster. Now, I happen to think that discussion should take place AFTER the worst of the storm is over and relief is underway...

    As far as his 'disaster relief event' in Ohio is concerned, it should be noted that he still hyped his "guest starts" and played his campaign video at this "disaster relief event." That doesn't sound like a relief/charity event to me, but you can (and should) draw your own conclusions on that count.

    October 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. morleytr

    Send it back to the states. Who pays for it then? The massive state budgets can handle it? This is a shell's not reducing expenditures, it's shifting the burden someplace that can't handle another budget item.

    October 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. W.G.

    A few questions entered my mind as I read this article . First off what was Romney doing taking up FEMA´s time ?
    He isn´t a president or even a Gov. Why do they have to bother with him ? Second We need a federal hand when it
    comes to disasters like these that have left states inoperable . Romney clearly shows he´s not capable of making sound decisions and that his policies regarding the country are non-functional

    October 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Cindy

    Now he talks with FEMA? This is the agency he wants to privatize and pass all the costs back onto the States. The States do not have that kind of money. Just think about it folks, where are the States going to get the money. From you, of course, in higher property and sales tax. Romney has been selling a fairytale to the American people.

    October 30, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Izzy

    I am glad to see, given many see CNN as a pretty moderate middle of road site, so many seeing Romney as the fool he is.

    Why isn't he talking to his RICH Mormon TEMPLES OF GOLD buddies to coordinate some help WITHOUT doubling it as a POLITICAL RALLY? A TRUE giver does not have the cameras rolling, like Mr. Clean PAN RYAN.!

    October 30, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Romney & Ryan 2012

    Obama had to look Presidental especially after Libya and 4 dead Americans.

    Romney lives in New England so you people who say it was ego are probably living in sunny AZ or CA. Shut up and give credit where credit is due. He encouraged people to give to the Red Cross or in some other way help! Obama is the candidate with the ego!

    October 30, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Jack in Florida

    He is disgusting, evil man. Makes George Bush look like an angel

    October 30, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Dave T

    Mitt wanted to privative FEMA so more private companies can profit from natural disasters, he can put Halibuton in charge. And it was Eric Cantor after "Irene" who blocked federal relief funds and stated that people needed to"save money and plan for these types of events and it wasn't the governments responsibility to help them"

    October 30, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. irunner

    I noticed romney has a habit of "playing president" whenever a disaster occurs in the last year. Can't wait until he is legally elected and sworn in.

    October 30, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. rs

    Here it is America- if Romeny is President you can forget getting help from the government- you'll be beholdin' to sports stars and Country and Western singers instead of FEMA or the National Guard. This is what a corporate raider does.

    October 30, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Saboth

    Romney said he wants to cut disaster relief (which would include FEMA). Face it...if you aren't a rich corporation or CEO, there is no reason at all to vote for this clown. He says it is too much to ask for the rich to pay an extra 2% in taxes even though their tax rates are already at record lows...heck some people are paying 13% or less that are millionaires (wink wink). So, since asking the people with all of the money in the country to pay more, Mitt wants to cut disaster relief, medicare, food stamps, public education, health care, etc. Take from the poor and middle class to give to the rich. That's his plan.

    October 30, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Dave

    Florida / Ohio should take note of the Republican plans to give up FEMA to state control.

    October 30, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. whoCares

    If this bozo had anything to say about the loss it would be, “Sorry but you are just the 47% and now there are fewer of you bums that I need to worry about.”

    October 30, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. some chick

    For the love of GOD Romney – Shut up !
    There is nothing he would not say or do to get elected. This is a human being who has never been told
    no .....and never accepted no as an answer. Us "middle classers" have no idea what it is like to be born with a silver
    spoon in our mouths, AND to have one for each of our kids as well. There is no real world reality for the Romney
    family including his kids. They just have not got a clue how we live and they are NOT interested in finding out. UGHHH
    go home and shut up mitt.

    October 30, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. rrd



    If this man gets elected, I will have lost all faith in the American people and be moving to Canada



    October 30, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. Watcher

    Romney seems unstable.

    October 30, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. TommyTT

    What a showboat! He has nothing to do with FEMA, nothing to offer them in this crisis. He's taking up their time to promote himself. That is disgraceful.

    October 30, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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