Romney faces scrutiny on aid in storm’s wake
There’s nothing like a natural disaster to test the depth of politicians’ preference for small government.
And so Mitt Romney found himself on the hot seat after superstorm Sandy battered the East Coast. Only last year, as Romney hewed to the right while battling for the GOP nomination, he appeared to suggest in a debate that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be shuttered and its responsibilities left to the states.
“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction,” Romney said at a debate last year. “And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
Asked by moderator John King of CNN whether that would include disaster relief, Romney said: “We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids.”
Now, a week before Election Day, in the wake of a massive disaster, Romney’s campaign is reassuring voters that his administration wouldn’t leave disaster victims in the lurch. The public’s attention is locked on the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy at a time when Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a close presidential campaign. With Obama heavily involved in getting federal funds to those in trouble, the Romney campaign moved quickly to reassure the public it supports a strong program of storm relief.