At Romney storm event, some donations supplied by campaign
October 31st, 2012
12:49 PM ET
10 years ago

At Romney storm event, some donations supplied by campaign

(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.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. g

    if elected he would replace FEMA with-heres a can of beans- now your on your own-good luck

    October 31, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Sane in Maine

    Well I guess this is how Romney plans on conducting disaster releef – considering that he is on record as being in favor of abolishing FEMA (will he do that on day one as well) – by passing out canned goods himself wherever a disaster strikes (and as long as the cameras are rolling?. That'll cut waste and cut a good portion of the deficit right Mitt ol' boy?

    Speaking of disasters – Mitt himself is a disaster just waiting to happen.

    October 31, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. ChristopherMN

    First Ryan goes to a soup kitchen after it had finished serving lunch to wash clean dishes. Now Romney pulls this photo-op "food" rally, which the Red Cross didn't want. These guys are about as real as Dolly Parton's chest.

    October 31, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. gius

    There's something a little strange about this Romney guy.There's more in that closet than those tax returns he won't show us.

    October 31, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Beth

    Kudos to everyone who brought supplies – compassion is not to be politicized! I would hope Dems and Republicans particpated in the event. Why would you (CNN) have to make this a headline?
    My prayers are with those whose lives have been impacted.

    October 31, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Buckeye

    All we need now is Lyin Ryan aka Eddie Munster to wash some clean dishes and this photo op will be complete. Hey Willard, why are you skipping helping out NY, NJ, and CT you know the states that really need aid?
    Lastly, the Red Cross really does not want clowns like Willard forcing all these goods on them right now. The best way he could help would be to donate straight cash, homie. But the optics are not nearly as good as that. Really, if he would take his tax savings and donate that te storm relief, he'd be doing much better instead of trying to make his relief efforts look better than they are. Clown.

    October 31, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |

    It's all about a photo op for Willard. Has he donated any blood? Better yet, it would be nice if he discloses how much he actually donatedted. Just in case of the worst case scenario that he becomes President, I want to see how much of a tax deduction he'll get from this donation on next years returns.

    October 31, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Dan5404

    Nothing but a grandstander for Romney and company, who could really help by asking their billionaire corporate PAC friends to do something for the American people for a change and send money to the Red Cross. The Red Cross always says, don't send food, send money so they can handle aid in a coordinated way, instead of piecemeal stuff as Romney instigated. Even if he means well, he's uninformed and ignorant about the facts.

    October 31, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. gr8 usa

    The Red Cross specifically asks for donations of money or blood, and the Romney campaign gives them diapers and the extra can of pie filling from a staffer's pantry. Yeah, that should fix everything.

    October 31, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. J

    Mitt Romney and his campaign have just been plain WRONG at every turn! too bad Red Cross doesn't accept canned goods, I hope they pass along to the 47%

    October 31, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. rs

    It would have been far more productive for the Red Cross had Mr. Romney elected to set an example for us all by simply writing a check-something both he, his campaign and the GOP are very well positioned to do. Well, at least he took a brief break from campaigning.

    October 31, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    Used as props – donation "supplies purchased by Romney staff and volunteers, filling out what could have been an embarrassing photo-op for the GOP nominee." Trying to rebrand his barely attended campaign events as “he cares” commercials?
    Nothing could be more embarrassing than Romoney buying the election he doesn’t deserve to win.
    I guess the “staged soup kitchen” event didn’t go so well for slash & burn Ryan either?

    October 31, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. LIP

    Isn't it just amazing that CNN would take an effort to help people that are down and out and make it political tool to jab Romney in the eye. Will CNN ever be something other than a liberal tongue to wag in our faces the hatred they have for conservatives in this country? The more liberal we become, the more we become like those extremist Muslims we are always condeming.

    October 31, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. b

    Everyone received a jar of peanut butter at the door to hand to Romney when they made their way pass the table to pose for a photo shot. Is Romney familiar with the term integrity?

    October 31, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. AL in West Palm Beach

    Let's get this straight.

    Romney's staff bought supplies for the campaign event. Romney then told the rest of us that it was the people attending the rally that brought said supplies.

    Coming from:
    1. The party that told America to let an insured sick man die (see CNN Florida Republican primary debate #RonPaul).
    2. The guy who wanted to bus his own people to a speech so that they can applaud him.
    3. The same guy who only gave 30 minutes to Univision and have them stretched it to 1 hour.

    Are you supprised?

    October 31, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Romney is what they call in Asia ," All Look See Show " !

    He want's to privatize FEMA , Education . Where base he been on Poverty in America , Mental Health . Where were his five sons during the 10 year wars ?

    October 31, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Michael Lee

    So Basically....Romney bought the extra supplies....because his supporters showed up with next to nothing

    and why did they show up with nothing?....because his storm relief event.....wasnt meant to raise storm relief

    it was just a campaign rally and the attendants showed up with more anti-obama t-shirts....than canned goods

    October 31, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. AL in West Palm Beach


    Mitt does it for the cameras....Obama does it because it's the right thing to do.

    October 31, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Lana2

    Only CNN (and perhaps MSNBC) could turn personal contributions by Romney staff and volunteers into a bad thing. No wonder no one watches you any more.

    October 31, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Captain Awesome

    Now there's a REAL leader! Hang on a little longer America. Help is on the way...

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 31, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. cjg

    Such a shame he has to use such a sad event to try and make himself look good.....The 5k which was reported they spent in can goods , diapers etc at a local Walmart should have been given to the Red Cross instead so it could be used as needed. Just nothing but a photo op that makes him look unpresidential. He looked like the cow that just atr the cabbage , and as for me just showed he will use anything to win.

    October 31, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. sifto

    cnn is stooping pretty low to critisize this generous effort–maybe you would prefer not to give the flood victims anything? and, Bill–do you not think they need food and diapers, etc more than money right now?

    October 31, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    Uh – November 6 we will vote - Hurricane relief in Florida - FEMA or 2 cans of peas for each person?

    October 31, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. basketcase87

    Figures that Romney is in Ohio. Don't get me wrong, there is certainly damage to be dealt with in Ohio, but if he were really interested in helping people whose lives were devastated he'd be along the coast of NJ, NY, CT, or RI. Showing up to donate some canned goods in OH is clearly a move for political points in a battleground state.

    October 31, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Facts don't Lie

    Although I am sure that people's hearts are in the right place with such a drive, they and Mitt should have read the Red Cross website that tells you can foods and such are things they really DON'T want...they get in the way. Besides if you have no power how can you cook and most people have electric can openers nowadays. What Mitt could have done was called his buddy Donald Trump and suggest instead of making that stupid offer to the president donate that money to the relief effort and tell Karl Rove to do the same. That I think would be more impressive though less of a photo op.

    October 31, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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