(CNN) – Scores of supporters turned up to Mitt Romney's rally-turned-storm relief event in Ohio Monday with supplies to donate to survivors of Superstorm Sandy, but the candidate's campaign was prepared with supplies of their own in case people arrived empty handed.
Among the neat rows of canned food, bottled water and diapers were supplies purchased by Romney staff and volunteers, filling out what could have been an embarrassing photo-op for the GOP nominee.
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"Our campaign, our staff and our volunteers did purchase and donate relief supplies so that they could be sent to a Red Cross center in the area affected by the storm. We don't have a cost assessment on it, but we were definitely grateful for everyone's help and we are happy to do our part for the relief efforts," Rick Gorka, a Romney campaign spokesman, said Wednesday.
The event, which was originally meant to be a campaign rally but was changed to a "storm relief event" on Monday evening, was held in a high school gymnasium in Kettering, Ohio. The high-profile supporters originally meant to campaign with Romney at the rally – racecar driver Richard Petty and "Alabama" lead singer Randy Owen – were both at the relief event, and Romney described the donations from the crowd as a "cover charge" for seeing Owen perform.
"We have a lot of goods here, and I know there's more coming in," Romney said in brief remarks delivered at the beginning of the event. "We're going to box these things up in just a minute and put them on some trucks, and were going to send them to into, I think it's New Jersey, as a site that we've identified that can take these goods and distribute them to people who need them."
"We won't be able to solve all the problems with our effort this morning," Romney continued. "There will still be a lot of people looking for goods even though we've gathered these things, but I know that."
After his remarks, Romney stood and accepted donations from the crowd of supporters for more than a half an hour.
He later walked outside to load crates of water onto a truck. Romney's campaign told reporters that a Red Cross warehouse in New Jersey was accepting the donation, despite a statement on the charity's website saying they "do not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items" because processing them requires resources better used on other projects.
"The American Red Cross appreciates the support from the Romney campaign and is working with the campaign to process this donation of supplies," the statement read. "We are grateful that both the Obama and Romney campaigns have also encouraged the public to send financial donations to the Red Cross. We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood."
At his event, Romney encouraged supporters to donate money to the Red Cross, and his campaign said Wednesday he himself had personally donated to the group. They did not divulge the size of Romney's contribution.
CNN should be embarrassed for having published such a clearly biased assessment. If Obama did the same thing (which I didn't notice by the way) the press would be thanking him for cutting into his war-chest to help those in need. For Romney, his motive must be sinister.
Mitt Romney is a doer! He donates, he asks others to donate, and he participates in the hard part, loading and organizing. I so admire this man who is willing to do what he asks of others. I will be honored to call him President Romney.
Buying votes? Isn't it againest the federal voting laws for a candidate or his campaign to contribute money to people?
Typical political stupidity. Trying to turn a help and food drive into a photo op and political event. Just like Ryan and the stupid soup kitchen debacle. If they can't get the campaign right during a crisis when they aren't even in charge (THANK GOD) how are they supposed to run the country?
You say that like it's bad.... like they're wrong for pitching in and supplying aid of their own. Yes... shame on them for donating money and time to help with the relief effort. Wherever you stand, aid is aid and I'm sure people along the east coast will appreciate it just the same if it came from a Democrat or Republican.
The media just won't stop will they?
As Jesus stood in the square, he observed a poor widow with a son give a few copper to a beggar. He walked over to her, and praised her for her charity. A rich man saw this, walked over, and gave a gold piece to the beggar. Jesus said nothing.
Finally, the rich man said: Jesus, you gave praises to the widow that gave a few coppers, but nothing for me, that gave gold?
And Jesus replied: The widow gave all that she had; you, you gave not even a tenth. For what would I praise you?
The Red Cross would prefer to get money which it could use to buy what it needs locally. That way it doesn't have to be transported and stored. So how about it Mr. Romney – will you give as much for New Jersey as you give to the Morman Church?
This was a complete embarassment. It was not what the Red Cross asked for, in fact, they specifically stated no food or supplies. They need money and blood. Romney is a clown. Thank goodness, he will be toast on November 6.
OMG!!! So now he is stealing money from people right in front of our eyes?
Cover charge? Can this guy ever NOT lie or twist the truth? the red cross is busy helping people right now. Adding your canned goods to the mix takes away from red cross volunteers helping because they have to count your chicken s^^^t donations!
While they are boxing things up why don't you climb into one of the boxes and disappear from our lives!!!
What a jerk!
Romney wont even listen to the Red Cross who has stated please dont send food donations because they do not have time to sort it now. They ask for financial donations so they can put the money to use where it is needed and they do a remarkable job in helping people in crises situations like Sandy!
Romney said its best to let the Federal Government FEMA go down to the states and better yet to private corporations.....oh yeah I can see it now....."hmmmm where's the profit margin in this?" Romney is clueless.
Can someone tell him that gathering random assortments of goods, canned food, and the like and then dumping them off at the red cross warehouse for a photo op and good job self slap on the back actually bogs down the organization because then they have to sit there sort them and get everything ready to move to the actually hit states.
Mention that they are a well oiled machine that work on a very large scale like huge purified water tankers instead of like 6 cases of small water bottles.
Also mention the fact that Romney is only hitting swing states that were barely hit by the storm, while ignoring the democratic states that were absolutely beat down by Sandy. No votes to gain there, so forget em!
I don't really truly hate very many people. Last count was at 8. Romney, your number 1 now.
It's amazing how telling this photo is. It depicts exactly what the relief effort will look like if Romney is elected and the states have to take care of their own. How is it that a few water bottles helps millions of people affected by nature. I really believe that due to his being a bishop in his church and having power in his church has given him pause to place judgement on others. It also has fed his ego to believe that he is above everyone, example is not producing his tax records or answering questions about dismantling FEMA. We don't have the right to judge him although he judges others. This guy is scary. This is not about a quick dollar or running a company. The US government is not a company, you can't make up the rules as you go along, and that is done is for the greater good. BTW Mitt has over 100 million dollars and all he donates is $25,000? that's like $2.50 for him so what's the big deal???
Mitt continues to confirm that he is a classless, thoughtless, arogant twit who acts without consulting those that are being affected, and those providing the aid. The Red Cross, as our duly elected leader President Obama has confirmed for all to hear on national television, DOES NOT NEED CANS – they need CASH.
If you'd thought to ask them, Twit, I'm sure they would've told you as much.
Oh and by the way that was a campaign rally you had with a bunch of canned goods that you bought.
What a doofus.
Everything this man does is fAKE! Wake up people!
A gift of generosity. And a photo op. Anyone surprised?
Photo opportunity Romney don't care because they are the 47%, that relies on the government for help.
I just love it when something is genuine, and not staged.
Good for Romney. He acts presidential when he's not even trying.
I tell you what. When I see that guy in the picture totin' boxes-o-cash from his secret "meager" holdings in foreign countries (not to avoid taxation, yea right), then you're talking about something.
He is so Creepy! I think I would rather hang out with a car salesman all day.
"Scores of people" – a score = 20 people. So I guess it was a good thing they bought their own supplies to send or it would have been rather embarrassing!
Quick! take a picture - it's Romney pretending to care about someone besides himself!!
Regardless of Romney's intentions, he looks disingenuous. Romney did this only after he was no longer getting in the news anymore and Romney is only focussing on swing states. As a Christian I am trying mu best not to judge Romney, but it is very hard when everything Romney does looks like his attempt to gain political points when people are actually suffering. I need to pray for forgiveness, because I really am questioning Romney's intent.
Or, the campaign was doing the right thing and deciding to divert some funds to great cause. Way to stay neutral CNN...at least you are consistent in disguising your spin.
so despite the Red Cross' explicit request not to donate canned foods, they go ahead and do it anyway? For those you who still care to give, the Red Cross asks for money and blood, not canned food.