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. chehalis

    IJust when I think Romney can't stoop any lower he somehow he does. He's like a spoiled rich kid who thinks that he can get away with anything, he's always gotten away with it before. Now he wants to bother FEMA, HE said he would GET RID of FEMA if he were President, now I'm waiting for the big LIE from him about that. He's a joke.

    October 30, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. therealtruthhurts

    One would have to be blind not to see through Mitt Romney and Ryan's lies. First dishwashing, now pretending to care about the storm victims. Mitt is lazy and only want power. Ryan is some blue eyed devil who also seeks status and power. These Guys make President Bush look like Pope John Paul.

    October 30, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. GI Joe

    Hey FL, MS, AL, LA, and TX - remember all that help you need from FEMA almost every year? With Robme, it's GOne.

    You're on your own. Go have a few more babies for his armies, and try not to starve them before they get old enough to be drafted.

    October 30, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. souptwins

    Many are asking why Romney is talking to FEMA- very simple, because in a week he could be our president elect whether you personally vote for him or not. This disaster will have long term effects and the clean up will take quite some time. It's the same reason he's receiving security briefings. Romney saying the state and local govt's should take the lead is exactly right and redirecting money to those best able to assess and respond to these situations also makes sense. Federal beaurocracy just adds to costs that may or may not benefits those who really need it. I'm also fine with holding benefit rallies and even turning one of his busses into a delivery bus to take supplies to victims. People are right that he's not the president but that doesn't keep him or anyone else from getting work helping where and when we can. What are any of you going to do to help the recovery for the millions who are enduring this disaster?

    October 30, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Cecilia

    CNN gives Republicans an awful lot of publicity; you can say that you just report what is out there well it appears what is out there for Blitzer, King, Borger, and others is in favor of Romney. All of you don't hear yourselves, it is clear what you represent. Romney is not the President period! You anchors should have more respect for our President; you just cannot stand the idea that Obama is different from any other President, fact of the matter is that he is entitled just like any other American in this great nation that belongs to all of us!

    October 30, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Russ in Md.

    jnpa, The FEMA efforts are going to go on well past the elections. Gov. Romney was just staying informed and prepared for when he take over the effort as POTUS in January.

    October 30, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. local

    Romney way of thinking................hey now I can unload all those chinnese blankets on the goverment at twice the cost that I was going to retail them for.

    October 30, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Austin

    He has no business being involved. Dang he is so pushy. You haven't won the race yet crazy man. Romney was the one who said he wants to drastically cut FEMA funding. Mind your own business Mittens.

    October 30, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Dback

    Oh, NOW CNN is reporting on Romney and the FEMA comments? The rest of the web was buzzing about this Sunday and yesterday. Romney's cavalier approach and his "I only care about people like me" attitude was on full display in the orginal remarks–oops, now all of a sudden, he does one of the biggest flip-flops of the campaign in a move of grotesque cynicism and pandering, and CNN buries this in an article that says that he's getting updates from FEMA. (Notice how he supposedly cancelled his campaign appearances, then suddenly they were back on as "disaster relief fundraisers" with the media invited?)

    Guys, remember Molly Ivins' quotes about George Bush: "Never mind what he says–watch what he does." Same thing with most Republicans–it always comes back to, What Can We Cut So We Can Give The Wealthy More Tax Cuts. It doesn't matter if this has any evidence of actually helping the country or not; their first rule is, Always line your pockets at the expense of others.

    I honestly thought Romney was probably the most decent and honorable man the Republicans had nominated in some 20 years; he's proven that he is as craven and self-centered as any of them.

    October 30, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. us_1776

    I'm Mitt Romney and I'm gonna kill you FEMA suckas just soon as I'm elected.

    Kolub will take over from here on out.


    October 30, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Blue

    Mitt is beyond words. Just who in the hell does he think he is?

    October 30, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Old Hateful Greedy White men

    Smaller Goverment, until you really need the kind of power that is Government. Government of the people, by the people, for the people! And who said that? A repulblican... Oh my how things have changed... Mitt Romney wanted to defund FEMA and privatize it so he and his ilk could rake in cash off of disasters. But Guess what? Mother nature is a cold hard bitch and she could care less about your party lines. Government is the only entity with the money and the might to help in situations like this. Look and learn Governor...

    October 30, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. michd

    Why does Romney hate the poor and vulnerable in this country? Who does not have a vacation home to run to or a cab in the woods, or a private jet to hop on when disaster comes. Ryan should not be asking supporters to help, I am sure that the can write a check. Look at all the money their are collecting for the rich. Shame on Romney/Ryan. Wake up voters these are not the people who have your back. They are like sheep in wolf clothing. Obama/Biden 2012

    October 30, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Larry L

    You can bet Karl Rove is working hard to find some distortion, some twisted phrase, or some outright lie he can use to give Romney critical words to say about the disaster relief effort. I'll bet FEMA would like to kick him right in the magic underwear for sticking his nose in their business right in the middle of a crisis. Reminds me of his ridiculous comments made as the Libya crisis was happening. He could never make a good Commander-In-Chief.

    October 30, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Mike

    Why the hell would they even take his call if this is true? He should stay the hell out of the way and let them do their job. Is it really necessary to try to score political points during a natural disaster? How shameful of him to insert himself into a situation where he is just being a nuisance. Romney has no role whatsoever getting involved in the situation.

    October 30, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |

    Lets just call a spade a spade. Mitt Romney is a despicable human being. Get to the polls and vote against this man who has no core.

    October 30, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Tony in Maine

    Why? He is not the President. Never will be unless Scalia disenfranchises the majority – again.

    Mr. Romney – one word "Sensata."

    October 30, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Frank

    This is TOTALLY inappropriate, and people in emergency management HATE it when politicians get in their way and try to capitalize on a disaster. When I worked in with FEMA, it was really annoying when politicians running for office would show up with camera crews and gum up the works.


    Also, why didn't we see this concern from ROMNEY during previous disasters??? Oh Yeah, because he wasn't running for President.

    October 30, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Dionysus86

    Romney is playing (White) House again.

    Ex-Governor, you are not the president. Please stop tying up the phone lines and let the people with actual authority do their jobs.

    October 30, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Outsider.92

    You have no shame Mitt. Absolutely pathetic.

    October 30, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. jw

    he has no business taking up valuable FEMA time for his vanity and campaign....this is ridiculous. HE IS NOT THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF!

    October 30, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. TC Smythe

    FEMA has better things to do right now. If he calls again – they should hang up on him!

    October 30, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. rosaadriana

    Oh was he talking to FEMA about his plans to privatize them? He should get out of the way so these people can do their jobs.

    October 30, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. steve

    FEMA? Wouldn't Romney really like to privatize it? What makes FEMA any different than Medicare or Social Security? Isn't it all "BIG GOVERNMENT"? C'mon Mitt.....whomever you are today.....say it like it is: Let the east coast go bankrupt.

    October 30, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. informationrockstar

    I don't know, I think it is kind of cute to watch Romney pretend to be president.

    October 30, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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