Photo: An image of Romney’s plan for disaster relief: you’ll get a bottle of Gatorade, some soup, and a hearty “Good luck, Citizen!” What you won’t get is assistance from FEMA because: 1) FEMA is an “immoral” debt which ”makes no sense,” 2) the military will be getting an additional $2 trillion it says it doesn’t need,and 3) more tax cuts for rich people!
McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed reports on Mitt’s elaborate, $5,000 (worth of groceries) photo-op in Dayton, disguised as helping victims of Hurricane Sandy:
“[Team Romney] 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.
[...] The plan was for supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies to the event, and then deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman. To complete the project and photo-op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside.
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.)
…When reporters arrived on site ahead of the candidate, they were given press badges describing the event as a “victory rally” — a result, one aide told BuzzFeed, of the event’s last-minute repurposing. He said the badges were printed Monday morning, before the change had been announced. And shortly thereafter, the two large projector screens near the ceiling lit up with a glossy, 10-minute biographical video about the candidate, one that debuted at the Republican National Convention. A state campaign official blamed “someone from the audiovisual team” for playing the video without the campaign’s permission.
But even as Romney, clad in blue jeans and rolled-up sleeves, hustled around his area of the gym, shaking hands, thanking supporters, and stacking cases of bottled water on top of each other, signs of stagecraft remained. …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.”
FEMA: Cash is the most efficient method of donating – Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Andrea Mitchell reports: Red Cross tells us its grateful for Romney donation [ED: what else are they going to say?] but prefer people send money or donate blood. Don’t collect goods; NOT best way to help.