VIDEO – Mitt Romney staged a canned food drive in order to disguise a political rally as a “storm relief event” in Ohio. The campaign was caught spending $5,000 at the local Wal-Mart buying granola bars, canned food, and diapers to give to supporters as they walked into the rally so they could then hand them back to Mitt Romney for a photo op.
As Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast, President Obama cancelled his campaign appearances in order to give full attention to the impending disaster. The Romney campaign said they were going to suspend campaign events “out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy”. But, as we have come to expect from Mitt Romney, he was even lying about that and instead kept his scheduled campaign appearance, disguising it as a “storm relief event”.
While President Obama was meeting with FEMA, the Red Cross, and coordinating disaster relief, Mitt Romney was pretending to care for the storm victims by staging a canned food drive far away in Ohio.
The night before the event, Mitt Romney sent campaign workers to the local Wal-Mart to buy items for his supporters to hand to him at the “storm relief event”. They spent $5,000 on diapers, granola bars, and canned food. These items were then given to attendees of the event so Romney could be photographed “accepting” the items from supporters who lined up to hand them back to the man who purchased them.
The Red Cross does not accept canned food donations and if Romney was actually concerned about helping the Red Cross, a quick call or check of their website would have told him that. No, the campaign apparently ignored that because it got in the way of their planned photo-op. The Red Cross prefers monetary donations and if the campaign wanted to promote disaster relief, they would have asked their supporters to send money to the Red Cross, as the Obama campaign did. Mitt Romney was simply using the disaster to score cheap political points.
Romney has already said he would eliminate FEMA and force states to handle disaster relief on their own. He also said he would prefer to go one step further and privatize disaster if at all possible. But Hurricane Sandy is a real disaster affecting the most populated region of the United States. It is clear that the federal government is needed in a situation like this.
As President Obama was personally coordinating with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to bring real federal assistance to the people affected by Hurricane Sandy, Mitt Romney was in Ohio staging a phony and unnecessary canned food drive so the press could take his picture. But Romney’s own campaign surrogate Chris Christie has already said he is not interested in letting Romney exploit the disaster in his state for another photo op. Christie doesn’t have time to play “pretend” with Mitt Romney. This is a real crisis affecting millions of real people.