Romney bought $5k of food for people to “donate” back to him at phony “hurricane” rally

You See Victims, Romney Smells “Opportunity”

OMG.  It IS Paul Ryan and the soup kitchen!

From McKay Coppins at Buzzfeed:

But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it “did donate supplies to the relief effort,” but would not specify how much it spent.)

Romney phony relief event for Hurricane Sandy

Distributing birther-inspired anti-Obama t-shirts
at the “non-partisan” rally.

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest “Thank you.”

No relief for you!

We’ve all been through it before. Grandma’s getting old. Mom goes and buys grandma’s Christmas gifts, or maybe mom even gives you a 20 and tells you to buy yourself something from grandma, then wrap it up for Christmas eve – and make sure you look surprised when you unwrap your gift in front of grandma!

And that’s okay, cuz grandma’s 90 years old and has a hard time getting around.

What’s Mitt Romney’s excuse?

Team Romney Admits “Relief” Event Was Staged for Political Reasons

I also found this part of the story fascinating. The Romney campaign admits that the intent behind the rally was swing state election visibility, not hurricane relief:

But Boston wasn’t quite ready to lose a full day of swing state visibility with a week left in the race. So, after some deliberation, the campaign decided to use their existing venue in Ohio to stage a makeshift, and nonpartisan, humanitarian project. It would be a way for Romney to show leadership — and get on the local news — without looking craven or opportunistic.

They weren’t willing to lose a day’s visibility in a swing state, so they came up with the event and crafted it in a way that would still get them political benefit, but would camouflage the intent.  So, as I predicted, Team Romney saw Hurricane Sandy – saw the imminent peril of tens of millions of Americans – as a political “opportunity” to exploit.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post.

And as the reports from the rally prove, Romney’s “relief event” was a lot of partisan politics, and not much relief.

And keep mind, the Red Cross doesn’t want these “donations.”  The Red Cross specifically says on its Web site NOT to give it donations of goods.  It needs money and blood donations.  When people send goods, it requires staff time to go through, distribute them, etc – time that is better spent working on more efficient means of helping disaster victims.  And I quote from the Red Cross Web site:

Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.

It’s the “Chinese Jeeps” of Charity Events!

Mitt Romney spent $5,000 on a political stunt when he should have simply donated the $5,000 to the Red Cross. But had he donated the money, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good a PR event, and remember, with Mitt Romney, it’s not about helping people – it’s about fueling his ambition.

Need more proof? Jennyjinx on Twitter just noted the following:

@aravosis Why couldn’t Romney have asked his supporters to write a check or plop money in a can?

The Romney people decided that you “had” to have food in hand in hand to donate, or they wouldn’t let you in.  But if you didn’t have any food, they’d give you some food they bought – food the Red Cross doesn’t want.  Why didn’t the Romney people at the very least ask people who didn’t bring food to write a check, or donate cash?  They could have a laptop sitting there with a connection to the Internet, and people could have donated to the Red Cross via the Red Cross’ own Web site.  But they didn’t.  Because this event wasn’t about helping the Red Cross or Hurricane Sandy’s victims.

How long until Romney voters try to destroy this charity as well?  Then again, by intentionally impeding the Red Cross’ hurricane relief work, they’re already off to a good start.

PS Compare Romney’s made-for-TV stunt with what President Obama did when visiting FEMA HQ this morning:

No TV cameras allowed.  But, what – you say – the President isn’t trying to make hurricane relief a partisan media spectacle of opportunity?  Clearly, un-American.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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420 Responses to “Romney bought $5k of food for people to “donate” back to him at phony “hurricane” rally”

  1. Naja pallida says:

    Huh? Unintelligible nonsense is generally not really worth replying to, but I will say that the voters chose to avoid hell, by not electing Romney.

  2. Rhonda Clark says:

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  17. Moderator3 says:

    @El_Tigre_Loco – I think most of us got it.

  18. Longest day of the year is Jun 21. The shortest day is Dec. 21. Therefore the days when the day and night are of equal length are Sep. 21 and Mar. 21, and therefore the two different days of the year when the daylight hours on those two days will be equal, give or take a few days depending on your location on earth.

  19. keirmeister says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what is known as a straw man. Nice try, Junior.

  20. beduke says:

    No, actually the most useful thing for the Red Cross is always money. That way they don’t have to waste energy and time in transportation. They can acquire what they need as close as possible to the disaster site. Also, they can buy exactly what is required, rather than having to sort through a hodge-podge of donated goods.

  21. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    So it would be okay for your local police to be out selling tickets to their ball whilst the robbers run rampant. I get it.

  22. El_Tigre_Loco says:


  23. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    No, you deserve what obama is going to do and is doing to this country.

  24. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    And obama is as pure as the driven snow? Yeah, right.

  25. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    Please leave race out of this. We dislike obama because he wants to lower the United States’ status to a second or third world country. Read his books.

  26. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    What’s a matter? Can’t make it on your own?

  27. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    Now you know that is against the law.

  28. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    I thought that canned food items were what they wanted and that is what is shown in the photos.

  29. beduke says:

    that would make sense if he hadn’t spent the money on stuff that was useless to the Red Cross. So you can only look at this as a crass publicity-seeking stunt. However, since this is a free country, you are free to believe that your man had only the noblest of motivations.

  30. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    Seems like Romney is taking a page out of the book of Rahm Emanuel, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” who was the White House Chief of Staff under obama!

  31. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    Wait until obamacare kicks in next year. You will see a scam.

  32. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    If I told you once, I told you a million times, do not exaggerate.

    (250,000 million is 250 trillion.)

  33. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    Actually, I voted for my son. He gave me a free cell phone.

  34. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    The first day of winter in Alaska is just as long as the first day of summer – 24hrs.

  35. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    When private corporations do something you dislike, you can call government. If government does something you dislike, who are you going to call?

  36. El_Tigre_Loco says:

    So how much did Obama donate out of his own pocket? He is a multimillionaire.
    You could look at this as Romney donating $5000 and trying to not take credit for it.
    But I forgot, you have to toe the party line. Poor democrats are so cynical.

  37. Naja pallida says:

    Where is he now? Well, there is something pretty big happening today. In case you missed it. Might distract the President’s attention a little bit. FEMA is still quite active in the storm-hit areas. Just today they declared the people of Hunterdon county eligible for individual federal disaster benefits and public assistance. Yep, no where to be seen.

    As for Obamacare… I realize it is hard to grasp, but it isn’t a system you “get on”. It is primarily a federal mandate to buy private insurance. In fact, many of the benefits afforded to Congress in their health care plans, are part of Obamacare. Then there’s the language that was put in by Republicans, that once fully implemented, will make Congress only allowed to get their health insurance through the exchanges created by Obamacare. Oops. Not to mention, there are no union exemptions from Obamacare.

    Please get your information from somewhere other than Rush Limbaugh… and what the heck do you have against mongooses? They generally seem pretty apolitical to me.

  38. Cayrno4 says:

    Excuse me mongoose keeper, where is he now after the photo op at hurricane Sandy?  people are crying in the streets and nobody has seen obama or fema.  this man is king of BS.  Oh and where was he when 4 Americans were killed, please somebody spell VEGAS!  Give me a break Mongoose.  Oh and ObamaCare?  Why isn’t the pres, family, congress all of them on it?  It’s a wonderful, life saving program.  It’s so good we’ll get fined if we don’t get on it.  Well, same to them.  Fine their butt!  Oh lets not forget about some of the unions that are exempt too.  Somebody has stolen the brains of the Democrats, I wish they’d bring them back, for all of us.

  39. Cayrno4 says:

    You are completely brainwashed.  You need to google the information given to you here to find what really happened.  By the way, did you know that your Democratic Vice President gives less than $400 per year to charity???  Google that too!  But other people aren’t giving their fair share?  If you like the crap Obama and friends are spewing, by the way he’s a part in the murder of 4 men, then you should live in another country where someone else owns everything you earn.  Isn’t that what Obama wants to do?  Take and give to someone he decides needs it.  Like his constituents?  What about Biden then?  What do we do with that laughing idiot?   Nice debate!  He looked like he had a stroke.  People were in shock!   Do you think that less than $400 is his fair share?  How much money do you think that guy has?  I’m on social security and I give more than that.  It’s ridiculous.  Not only that.  Look at our treasurer.  He didn’t pay his taxes, but your president appointed him our treasurer to make sure YOU PAY YOUR taxes.  Please think before you engage in crazy, delusional conversations.

  40. jgmitzen says:

    The Democrats aren’t tearing the country apart. The Republicans have spent four years blocking every attempt to repair the economy, even going so far as to oppose legislation they initially supported once Obama agreed with it (e.g. a payroll tax cut). They even held the country hostage with the debt ceiling to extort their government-slashing agenda. Obama has been compromise, compromise, compromise to the point that a large element of his own party grew to actively dislike him for it: for instance, cutting his stimulus plan almost in half before even beginning negotiations. In the end, not one Republican in the House voted for it anyway.

    All that’s out of hand is ONE party. Remove that one party (there’s essentially no non-extreme Republicans left to leave in Congress, and even Richard Lugar lost his primary to a Tea Partier) and things will be ok. The modern Democratic party is a big tent, from “Blue Dog” fiscally conservative Democrats to (until recently) Dennis Kucinich and their Senate caucus partner, Independent socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. There’d be more diversity of ideas (and workable compromise) in a Democrat/independent-only Congress than we find in the current Republican party.

    Don’t use the fallacy of “they all do it”; they don’t. The Republicans invited the Christian Right in and then fomented the racial/ignorant hatred of the Tea Party extremists/birthers and now they’ve hijacked the party. It wasn’t like this as recently as the 80’s when you had decent, honorable Republicans like Senator Bob Dole leading the party (who had no problem rolling back Reagan’s tax cuts when supply side economics failed to “trickle down” to everyone else and revenue didn’t rise to compensate and fill the tax coffers). Symbolically I think it started when Pat Buchanan spoke at the Republican National Convention and announced a “culture war” had begun. It was all downhill from there, picking up speed with Newt Gingrich’s “revolution” and a wave of extremists hit Congress for whom compromise was a dirty word and they had no problem pulling un-American stunts like attempting to impeach the President in their new goal to win/seize power at all costs and not to be concerned about the common good or the nation.

  41. R. Paulson says:

    That food isn’t going to storm victims, it’s going home with Rmoney. The foods was just a prop for his photo op.

  42. R. Paulson says:

    Check back on  Tuesday. The Republicans, TEA Party, HATE RADIO, racists, xenophobes, homophobes, hateful evangelical Christians, have all done everything they could for the last four years to destroy the black man in the white house and even though they have had some success Obama will still be reelected. The truth is on our side.

  43. R. Paulson says:

    You aren’t paying attention. Turn off Glenn Beck and get a life.

  44. R. Paulson says:

    Freeamericanow, (what a joke), You are the problem, not the solution

  45. Jay says:

    Yes, FEMA under the Bush administration was a disaster all by itself, run by ol’Brownie, the former International Arabian Horse Association commissioner. (Ironically, he criticized the President for acting “too quickly” in this recent disaster. This from the guy that resigned in disgrace less than 2 weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans because of FEMA’s slow response.) 

    The reason FEMA is now so praised is because President Obama appointed William Craig Fugate as FEMA’s administrator in 2009. He was the guy that made Jeb Bush look so good when handling Florida’s local disasters. This appointment has been universally hailed as a brilliant stroke (except by Brownie, maybe) that brought greatly improved organization to the agency and increased it’s respect.

  46. Gestalt says:

    spoken like a petty little meme machine.

  47. Jay says:

    What a relief public financing would be. Then the candidates would be beholden to the electorate and not a handful of billionaire dead beats. 

  48. Jay says:

    Devrie is correct. When the Red Cross needs to move goods from a warehoused site to a disaster, they need them properly packed in their unbroken cartons, palletized and wrapped for easy handling by fork lift. They also have nutritional requirements planned out and therefore use specific foods. A big pile of random stuff rolling around all over the place is useless to them. I heard a radio address by Mayor Bloomberg where he said that there were some limited like-kind donations accepted from corporations like CocaCola (all bottled waters), but what they really needed was money donations to agencies like the Red Cross.

    I thoroughly agree with Naja pallida, posting farther above, that a riveting image would be Willard donating a pint of the imperial blood.

  49. Jay says:

    Since the Red Cross didn’t want those food donations, where do you think they ended up? I’m curious. Did they go to the Red Cross, but were warehoused in Ohio for a more local need? Did they go to another agency for local use, like a food pantry? Both usages are fine and helpful, but misrepresentation on the part of the Ryan/Romney staff. (Or is it Romney/Ryan? I forget.) If it all went home with the staffers like so many goodie bags, then that’s totally beyond the pale.

  50. cor508 says:

    S wrongny and staff have so little faith in the right wing xian funny constituents that they don’t believe they can generate a lousy truck full of food after a major disaster a few days before the election.

    But the rest of us are supposed to buy into the right wing delusional meme that after they destroy social security to give the money to the right an international corporations people will just magically take care of their ailing elderly neighbors!?

    I am continuously amazed and totally undecided whether they are or they think we are THAT stupid!

  51. Moonwalker58 says:

    Look in the mirror bud, you will see a hypocrit.  I’d rather be a winning fool any day to a losing hypocrit.  Do the RIGHT thing for our whole country and not just for your selfish hyper conservative dying party, vote for Obama on Tuesday and not for the Flip-Flop man, whom 4-5 months ago you didn’t even want as a candidate!  Come on, face up to it, he was the best Koch brother money could buy and he’s turned out to be a complete failure!  WAKE UP!

  52. Tmbofberwyn says:

    Between the Rep./ Dem./ and the Tea party they are tearing our country apart.
    Like little boys, in a sand box, they all want their own way.  In the end, we who
    put them there lose and they walk away with all the riches.
    How did we let this get out of hand?

  53. He’s a crookit man!!How Low can u go!!

  54. Naja pallida says:

    There were tens of millions of federal dollars granted to help with the Texas wildfires, even after Governor Perry spent months lambasting federal involvement in the states. I don’t know if Obama visited TN after the flooding, but I seem to recall something about a visit to Memphis around that time… but regardless, the TN governor actually praised the White House and FEMA response. When the tornado happened in Joplin, MO Obama was on a trip to Europe, and it took time for him to wrap things up with that and return – but he still managed to coordinate an effective federal response via FEMA. Seems to me that he’s running things like a President should… minus the BP spill, but that has to do more with oil companies being a multi-billion dollar stick up the ass of our country than the President himself. Obama does have a lot of policies which he should be rightfully criticized, but disaster management isn’t really one of them. He has been a hell of a lot more effective on the issue than the previous President… but that’s setting the bar pretty low.

  55. hellvajobbrownie says:

    Dear Mitt, In the immortal words of Ivan Drago, “YOU VILL LOSE”.

  56. Naja pallida says:

    Again, he’s not being criticized for collecting food. He’s being criticized for being so fake about it. Buying the food himself (or the campaign did, at least) and then giving it out to supporters so they could “donate” it back for a big press event. When he could simply have just bought and donated the food, instead of turning it into a scam. On top of the fact that the Red Cross specifically and very clearly said they were not equipped to handle donations of food… and has been their standing policy for a long time. A simple photo op of him on a chair donating blood would have been a million times more effective.

    As for the non-union workers, I agree it was stupid. There needs to be some kind of leeway for emergency situations to allow non-union people to work temporarily… but really, they should have contacted the utilities and emergency management office in NJ before they even left Alabama, and verified how and where they could help – if at all, and what was required of them beforehand.

    Obama has been actively involved from the beginning, and calling all the people coordinating things several times a day making sure they have any and all the support they need from the federal government, while keeping enough out of the way to allow the states to do the work they need to do. Photo-op or not, this is an example of how a President handles such a situation. If Romney really wanted to look Presidential, he would set aside the politics for half a second and call the President and ask him how he can help. Maybe the two of them could even do a press event together to show that sometimes there are more important things than campaigning and fund raising.

  57. Freeamericanow says:

    Balogna. Obama did the photo op, and people are still without food, water, power. Non-union workers were turned away because the refused to join the union, after they drove all the way from the South to help! Obama is pitiful. Romney collects food and gets criticized. Stupid reporting job

  58. Freeamericanow says:

    Right on! Vote the scumbag out!

  59. Freeamericanow says:


  60. Kwall76 says:

    Did you donate $5000 Vicky? Hes done more than you so there is that.

  61. Kwall76 says:

    Cancels his campaigning? Lol. Dude heads off to Vegas the day following our US ambassador gets murdered. Obozo has NEVER stopped campaigning.

  62. Kwall76 says:

    Well said

  63. Kwall76 says:

    Obama is showing leadership in THIS natural disaster but where was he in all the other ones the last four years? Good for him for showing leadership 1 week before the election. What a champ.

  64. Kwall76 says:

    It’s shocking to me there are still Obama supporters at this point. You all look like fools defending this failed man.

  65. Kwall76 says:

    Obama has ignored natural disaster victims in the past, Tennessee and Colorado and took weeks to visit others, Missouri and the gulf. But good for him for being ‘right there’ a week before the election. I’d call that being an opportunist.

  66. Kwall76 says:

    Obama ignored the Texas wildfires when over 400 homes were lost, Obama did not visit Tennessee when they had the historic 1000 year flood, he took 14 days until he visited the gulf after the BP spill and took 7 days before visiting Joplin, Missouri after a tornado wiped out half the town and killed 120 people. But a week before the election he’s right there :-)

  67. guest says:

    maybe they just wanted to create a visual to show people how they could help. and by the way apparently people do desperately  need food…like the people in Staten Island and here we are its Friday and the Red Cross has not done enough to help those people.  Which makes no sense to me as I just volunteered at a Red Cross shelter in PA which was up and running very quickly the morning before the Hurricane got here.  And now officials on Staten Island are telling folks there NOT to donate to Red CRoss due to their ineffectiveness helping the poor folks on Staten Island

  68. Hbv11 says:

    maybe they just wanted to create a visual to show people how they could help. and by the way apparently people do desperately  need food…like the people in Staten Island and here we are its Friday and the Red Cross has not done enough to help those people.  Which makes no sense to me as I just volunteered at a Red Cross shelter in PA which was up and running very quickly the morning before the Hurricane got here.  And now officials on Staten Island are telling folks there NOT to donate to Red CRoss due to their ineffectiveness helping the poor folks on Staten Island

  69. Cris0000 says:

    Maybe you should have asked those people’s parents then. 
    I can give a few reasons I support Obama off the top of my head.

    1. I don’t agree with Mitt Romney’s pre-Denver debate economic policy of extending Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Historically, the economy has been at its best when the wealthy have had higher tax rates, and the economy has done worse when the wealthy have lower tax rates.

    2. Romney makes promises it’s not possible to keep (cutting taxes while increasing military spending and paying for it through closing loopholes). When he’s asked for details about how he could keep those promises, he either dodges the question or tells us the math is too hard for us to understand.

    3. Romney has switched his positions so many times. What he said 2 months ago is different than what he said 1 month ago. I don’t have any idea what he really stands for or what he really intends to do. 

    4. A leader in the Republican party stated in 2008 that their #1 goal was to make sure Obama doesn’t get reelected. Having watched Obama attempt to compromise with them only to have them turn around, change their demands, and criticize Obama for doing the very things the Republicans had said they wanted, I’m inclined to believe that was all they were trying to accomplish. I believe Republicans did their best to make sure Obama failed and they didn’t care how that failure would harm the American people. If Obama doesn’t get reelected, it will show that partisan sabotage is the way to get what you want in Washington, DC. I would rather not reward that behavior. I want to encourage cooperation, which is the only thing that will help our country.

  70. Even soup kitchens prefer that you give them money because they can buy
    more food in bulk with that money than you could buy to donate.

  71. Vicky says:

    And I have some swamp land to sell you…. he was born with a very BIG silver spoon in his mouth which gave him advantages the middle class can only dream of. he is in the world of the very wealthy and that’s all he knows. Completely out of touch.

  72. Vicky says:

    Oh please…mean while Romney hides his MILLIONS in the cayman Island so he doesn’t have to pay his fair share of taxes!!