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. Say

    It's funny the Romney would talk to FEMA after stating that he would cut them. What he didn't say is that he asked for federal FEMA funds, twice, when he was in Mass. He also didn't want to spend his surplus until he found out how much FEMA funds would come his way.

    October 30, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Robert

    Hi, I'm Mitt Romney. I'm running for President on the ticket of the Republican Party that has cut billions of dollars of funding from FEMA. I want to give tax cuts to the rich so that states have less money for disaster aid. And I approve this message.

    October 30, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Frank

    There truly is no shame to this man. And, there is apparently no tragedy to great for Romney to exploit.

    October 30, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. MommaG


    Romney just wants to make FEMA better . By privatizing FEMA and letting his son Tagg run it like a real profit making institution . Governments don't create jobs and FEMA is not a Job creator !

    Let the Job creator's handle this , there is a lot of profit in disasters !

    Romney / Ryan 2012
    @Thomas – I hope this is a failed attempt at sarcasm. During an emergency situation is not the time or place for turning a profit. Assisting one’s neighbors and fellow citizens should be the sole focus following a disaster.

    Your line of thinking sickens me and is at the root of many of our nations issues today! The “Get Mine” attitude had to legally stopped in FL following more than a few of our storms. This opens up a whole world of fraud and price gauging when people are at their weakest and more vulnerable.

    October 30, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Pete B

    Oh, you mean the FEMA that candidate Romney propsoed shutting down, whose duties and funding he proposed sending to the states and private industry? That FEMA? I'm sure that DHS and FEMA were quite interested in his particpation. News flash: FEMA isn't the incompetent mess it was under Dubya. Republicans, always saying how incompetent government is, then proving it when they're elected.

    October 30, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Anne

    do you all realize that exactly now the country needs someone who understands how to build something? He could be the next President so he has the right to know. They wouldn't brief him if it was not appropriate.

    October 30, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "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"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!! You think he's a human being!!!!! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!!!!

    October 30, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. John

    Really, CNN? Where's the accompanying piece that writes about Romney grandstanding during a crisis, calling FEMA as if he has any authority whatsoever? He is a CANDIDATE, for Pete's sake. He has no business calling FEMA.

    Romney speaks to FEMA before a would-be tragic storm. Romney inserts himself in the middle of the Libya crisis.

    For the record: the glaring point of Romney's debate comment was that feds shouldn't be in the disaster relief business. The spin that you reported here is inaccurate. The Romney spokesperson intentionally misrepresented the back and forth of the debate comments. The quote used here by Romney in the debate was after he talked about the moral issue of the increasing debt and why the states should be FUNDING disaster relief, not only coordinating disaster relief locally.

    I'm frustrated that I can't seem to find a single unbiased news source to get at the truth of both sides in this election. Where am I supposed to go? The Huffington Post? Fox News?

    October 30, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Mark in VA

    Sorry Mitt, you aren't President yet..Bad Form.

    October 30, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. BillSD33

    Russ in MD. There are 15 states involved in this disaster, plus DC. Who would be in charge and would they really have the resources to handle this by themselves? Sure, privatize it, but who would have the money to pay them? FEMA is critical to the success of our nation in times of disaster. They centralize control and bring in preparedness teams to help.

    October 30, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. ivotedalready

    In the time of needing to come together Romney is trying to upstage the President and this he cannot do unless Americans allow it to happen. Goes to his arrogance, his privileged attitude and lack of respect for anyone with whom he is opposed.
    I have been how the heck can this election be called just does not make sense....Romney is a throwback to the "good ole boys" days, he is flat out always changing his story, won't stop the jeep ads even though he knows he is misleading, won't call Sununu out on racism, thinks that women are property, etc. and etc. I am just astonished that anyone and I mean anyone is even considering this person....cannot tell if his supporters really are endeared to him or just hate Obama...if it is the latter then that is one thing but if it is the former then this country is in really bad shape relative to open-minded and intelligent analysis of issues.

    October 30, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Hogan's Goat

    Storm victims need to sue him afterwards for wasting official time while people are dying. What do you people SEE in him to still be voting for him?

    October 30, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Dnick47

    Romney is consistent in this alone: on any issue he takes both sides with equal vigor. First he want to cut FEMA then he's all for FEMA. Its that way on every issue! "First he says he ill and then he won't," as an old 50's popular tune went. We don't need a grab bag president.

    October 30, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. FactCheck

    Too bad Governor Christie wasn't the Republican candidate for President.
    He will be in 2016. Christie is a smart guy and knew that the only chance of a close race would be if he lie through his teeth and showed absolutely no moral core. Christie does not have it in himself to be this despicable. Romney on the other hand...

    October 30, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Joe

    All I can say is shame to mittens, for exploiting a grave situation...

    October 30, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. BeverlyNC

    Romney is a total FRAUD. He plans to kill FEMA along with every other Federal program that benefits We the People – like Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, all funding for public education, all govt college loans, all veteran healthcare benefits and pensions, all programs for the poor, all worker rights like a Minimum Wage, workers comp, unemployment insurance, Fair Pay Act for women, and deregulate all the industries that have bought his campaign, including deregulating the banks again. Romney is a man with NO character, integrity, honor and cannot be trusted to lead ANYTHING. He is an arrogant self-serving liar.

    October 30, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. FactCheck

    Too bad Governor Christie wasn't the Republican candidate for President.
    Christie will run in 2016. He knows that the only way to run a close election against an incumbent is to lie, lie and then lie some more. He does not have it in himself to be so low. Mitt on the other hand....

    October 30, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Coffeehead

    If I heard romney right during his campaign, agencies like FEMA would get the Axe QUICKLY !!! Now he's playing " Look at me–Im a thoughtful caring guy !! How dispicable !!! Anyone who honestly thinks this Moraly banckrupt individual should be president needs their head examined !!!

    October 30, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. FactCheck

    Too bad Governor Christie wasn't the Republican candidate for President.
    He will run in 2016.

    October 30, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Dan586

    FLIP-FLOP-MITT would cause more destruction then 100 Hurricane Sandy

    October 30, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Please stop politicizing the storm Gov Romney. Why aren'y you in Massachusetts where many have no power if you are so concerned instead of in Iowa?

    October 30, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Joe

    Romney could care less about anyone but himself and it's insulting that he would insinuate himself into the situation by talking to FEMA. Didn't he say he would cut that agency?

    October 30, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. jinx88

    Hey Mittens why you gong to Ohio if your not campaigning today? Last time I heard Ohio didnt flood. Mitten is garbage!!

    October 30, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    "I know being from California is a mental disability in itself but Romey said he would let the state lead the efforts of FEMA. They would know best on were the resources needs to be applied."

    Except that is NOT what he said. He stated that FEMA should be cut entirely ... forcing individual states to pick up the cost of disaster expense through privatization. To do otherwise ... quoting Mitt Romney ... was in his opinion "immoral".

    October 30, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "I wish you progressive liberals would quit twisting words and facts to make things sould like something else."

    There's no twisting here. The states cannot afford and would not be able to implement solutions to replace FEMA. Many of the states most frequently hit by hurricanes and other disasters are RED STATES THAT CAN'T EVEN FUNCTION WITHOUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GIVING THEM MORE MONEY THAN THEIR CITIZENS PAY IN FEDERAL TAXES. In the event of a massive natural disaster, where would Mississippi or Louisiana or Alabama be if left to fend for themselves without the help of the rest of the people in this country's tax money? 6 feet under and pushing up daisies. That's where.

    October 30, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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