While President Barack Obama suspends his campaign to coordinate disaster relief for communities stricken by Hurricane Sandy, Not-Particularly-Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney hosts “storm relief” events in swing states that collect items the Red Cross doesn’t want, and which look an awful lot like campaign rallies. Um … Can someone please explain why Ann Romney thinks her husband’s the “grown up” around here?
The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez reports that Romney hosted a “storm relief event” today in Kettering, OH, and asked guests to bring canned goods, diapers, flashlights, and other emergency items. But she also mentions that “there remained many of the trappings of a campaign rally,” including the bright, red, white, and blue decor and upbeat contemporary musical soundtrack from Romney and Ryan’s regular campaign events.
David Edwards’ article in Raw Story confirms Sonmez’s account, and adds that USA Today reporter, Jackie Kucinich, tweeted from one of the events, “Campaign video playing at ‘storm relief event’ – there is an area roped off for supplies.” Yes, you read that right … The Romney campaign was broadcasting campaign advertisements during at least one of the events. Also telling is the “roped off” area for dropping off supplies, when collection bins would be more efficient.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell delivered a scathing criticism of this “storm relief” event, not only for coming across as a “thinly veiled” campaign rally, but also for being entirely USELESS to the Red Cross and other organizations:
“We checked with the Red Cross. The Red Cross said, while they’re always grateful for donations, that this is not what they need or want. They always tell people, ‘please donate money, because we have our own packagers, wholesalers’ — they have their own distribution system. And to now get these canned goods from the Romney event in Ohio, and have to first package it — used clothes, they have to clean, they can’t go directly to victims. So, what they need are donations of blood and donations of money.”
You can watch the video of Mitchell’s attack on the Romney campaign below:
Slate‘s Matthew Yglesias reminds us in today’s “Moneybox” column that during the 2011 GOP Primary debates, Romney said he wanted to eliminate FEMA because having the Federal government provide disaster relief when we’re running a deficit is “simply immoral … it makes no sense at all.”
You’ve got to wonder how GOP governors from the eastern sea board, and southern states — which have been hit by tornados — feel about “Big Government” now. If Romney’s feeble collection efforts, or George “Heck of a Job, Brownie” Bush’s abject failure and negligence during the Hurricane Katrina crisis are examples of how “Small Government,” charities, and the private sector coordinate disaster relief, I’m voting for big government. New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie might be the first one to agree.