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. roro

    This is like a bad joke – not funny but cringe worthy. Isn't it Romney who wants to get rid of FEMA? This man will say and do anything to be president. Even his wife said it was their "turn". I cannot trust a man who continues to change his stance on issue after issue. Exactly what does he really believe in? I don't think we'll ever know. AND WHERE ARE YOUR TAX RETURNS?

    October 30, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. ghostriter

    Liberals, settle down. Romney gets all sorts of updates. Just in case he wins, he should be updated with some stuff so he won't be a total failure on his 1st day. Keep in mind, he already has about 10 things to "attempt" to do on day 1. He doesn't need the added issues of trying to figure out things like what FEMA does.

    October 30, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Linda

    I was headed for a Contact link to register my anger about CNN reporting on both TV & web site that "Romney speaks with FEMA" & stumbled on the comments posted by others. It appears most are in agreement with my own sentiments. My question being, WHY did he speak with FEMA & WHY did CNN report on it. What business is it of Romney's to confer with FEMA, Nat'l Weather Service & Homeland Security? He's a private citizen. He's not an elected official. Aren't all those agencies busy enough right now than to waste time updating a private citizen on relief efforts? NOT HIS JOB!!! And hopefully it won't be either!!! The real reason WHY he spoke with FEMA was so his campaign could notify news agencies about it to make him appear "in charge." In other words, "presidential." And CNN took the bait & reported it.

    Now, it's being reported that he's collecting donations from his supporters for relief efforts. If it was anybody else & at any other time, I would think that's a wonderful thing to do. But I don't trust Romney & am convinced his motives are solely political. Just as he jumped right in on the 9/11 attack in Libya, he's now trying to capitalize on this terrible storm disaster. SHAME!!!!

    October 30, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. marvalea

    State legislatures are even more divisive than Congress (hard to believe, but true). At the state level of those led by the GOP, the FIRST concern will be for GOP constituents. If there are funds remaining, they'll consider the DEMS. FEMA is a federally-run organization which works relatively well – though it worked much better when it worked independently (GWB turned it into a bureaucracy). The only criticism I'd have at this moment of FEMA – don't waste time talking to Romney. He is nothing more than a citizen – not deserving of any more of your concern than the actual taxpayer who contributes to FEMA's funding. Given the opportunity, he will defund FEMA. I love it when the GOP wants to "abolish" federal programs – NOT the funding, just the program. Let the states have unfettered control of FEDERAL funds? Absolutely not!

    October 30, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. James

    Okay. Can I get a FEMA update too? He and I are both private citizens. No reason for him to be involved.

    And don't tell me "It's so he can know what's going on in case he wins." HE DOESN'T BECOME PRESIDENT THE NEXT DAY! He has two and a half months to get himself ready. Plenty of time to be briefed AND change his position multiple times.

    October 30, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Highly_Amused

    How quaint! Romney "spoke to" (translation – Romney bullied his way into a FEMA-NWS conference call that he had NO BUSINESS attending! ) and encouraged those "little people" to help all the other "little people" with storm assistance! How sweet. Did he mention to any of them how he plans to CUT funding for their organizations and ELIMINATE their jobs!???
    What a "nice" guy!...

    October 30, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Standford

    Yeah we don’t need no stinkin’ Govmint FEMA! States could use their aircraft carriers and hospital ships, even use the state owned C-5s to fly in massive aid! If New Jersey needs some help, I’m sure New York would be glad to help. Maybe, Florida or Georgia could loan West Virginia some of their snow plows and cold weather gear!

    October 30, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. RR

    Romney to FEMA..."don't leave me out..I need to be included because I am entitled"!

    October 30, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Jim in PA

    WHY?!? Why would FEMA even entertain this powerless private citizen who has zero governmental authority? In terms of actual authority, Willard Romney is NOBODY! Leave the updates for November 7 if he wins and becomes the president-elect. That gives him two months to learn how to govern. Before that, it's just serving to inflate this gasbag's ego.

    October 30, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Joan

    As a devoted christain I can see God all over this storm that hit us. Say what you may but I wish these leaders including President Obama who I support would take heed. The are spending this large sum of money running ads to distorting each others policies. Most of these ads especially coming from the Romneys' side are mostly lies. While They are millions of people can't even find money to have a meal. This storm started in the carribbean, Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba . How on earth did it end up in that part of Amercia? Also how comes this storm lasted for almost 2 weeks and stay so strong to do such horrendous damage in those part of American. Romney was about the unleash a barage of ads on Monday to bashing the President records and he could not. I am sure he will resume soon but people God has put a dent into all this madness and I wish the 23 millions American who are out of job would hit the street and proctest all this buying out of the election. You guys can stop all this if you want. If these advertisement were about telling you what their plans are for creating jobs, energy, infrasture, the economy etc., then it would be worth it. But now it is all about bashing and distorting the records of each other. American don't stand for this. It is time you speak out and say no more lying Advertisement. We are not fools. We know President Obama real record and we know Romney/Ryan real records. . Wise up people you all are being taken for a ride.

    October 30, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Ann

    LOL, did he discuss how his running mate worked tirelessly to NOT GRANT FEMA additioanl fudning after Irene last year? how Ryan wants to NOT FUND FEMA? Doubt it.......

    October 30, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Jim in PA

    Mitt must have been curious how this whole governing thing works. Mitt the Intern.

    October 30, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. DENNA

    "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. "
    Mittens, if you were of any consequence, you would have been in the Briefing Room and the White House Situation Room or even FEMA headquarters What's the matter? Couldn't get an invite You are a poser. You wasted FEMA's time. You have no authority at this point. You are just another citizen. I wonder if FEMA would talk to me? I doubt it seriously. Go somewhere and sit down. Right now you are irrelevant.

    October 30, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. kim000

    Romney has already been tested by a disaster while in office as governor and FAILED. He waited three days after his state flooded to make contact with other officials.The flooding exceeded 1 million dollars in damage and left many homeless.He must have been waiting for the private sector to step up!
    Just think if it is left to states to act and the state has an elected official such as Romney.

    October 30, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. reginautz

    Romney "give it a break" if U want 2 really help give money 2 the American Red Cross or The Salvation Army take a couple million out of your off shore trusts & accounts AND give

    October 30, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Samuel

    I am not so called Liberal ! And it is sad now that the man who wants to do away programs that aid Americans and leve them to th states. He made the statement ! Get rid of FEMA...just like he wants to return Education back to the states...and let Wall St return to the old ways. And people make excuse....he is going to fool the voters that support him. So just say go bye to your deduction for mortage interest. Amazing !

    October 30, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Maxx

    Who would believe a word that comes out of Mitt's mouth?

    October 30, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "You think that $11B grows on trees as long as it's not part of the federal government's budget?"

    Indeed they do. Silly of them, I know. But not nearly as silly as CNN trying to project Romney the Opportunist Campaigner in Chief as a national leader in time of crisis. Reminds me of his London Olympic fiasco. Complete with comedy. Popcorn time is here again.

    October 30, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    He is laughable..Folks, do the right thing this man is dangerous..(Romney)..You know that the Obama/Biden team has your back, instead of stabbing you with cuts from FEMA, which he mentioned last year, medicare.medicaid SS, food stamps. Pell grants, etc. His heart is were the 1% are. Do the right thing..

    October 30, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. reginautz

    Give it a break Romney! If you want to help do like the rest of us are doing give money to the American Red Cross or The Salvation Army you can tap into your trusts off shore Lord only knows there is plenty there 2 ante up several million. And DENNA I totally agree with your comment furthermore Mittens FEMA does not of time 4 U so quit wasting their time

    October 30, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. T Majors

    I assume he was only there to tell them how he wants to dismantle their program? Way to go CNN. I have no idea why this is even being reported. It is a joke.

    October 30, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Jim in PA

    Mitt "Salahi" Romney – Uninvited Meeting Crasher.

    October 30, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Leave FEMA alone Mitt

    Changing the name of your political event, to a Storm releif rally...... is really, really, really low. It seems he can change his reality whenever he wishes. I am afraid for America.

    October 30, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. EBScrooge

    Maybe he should just call back to FEMA and fire them all right now, That would make your point that they are not needed. P.S. I hear there is a house in Alaska right next to your supporter Sarah Palin for sale. Alaska deserves you. 7 days left to look like a national fool. Hahahhahahahahahahbblaaahaha !!!!!!!

    October 30, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. dachozen1

    I usually reserve from calling someone running for a respected office names but this Romney guy is a CREEP. If the American people allow politicians to intentionally lie then we deserve the distrustful politicians we get. He doesnt have any moral compass that will stop him from saying or doing what is popular at the moment. He is a jelly fish with no spine. Romney said bad things about me and my family. I took student loans and I was temp unemployed. I got back up and found a job under the Obama administration. Romney believes in an America where middle class will be turned into China wages. Where there is no minimum wage and people are paid what their employers pay them. I truly despise monsters like ROmney.

    October 30, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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