In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mitt Romney announced that he’s halting his Presidential campaign so he can collect supplies to send to the Red Cross. Except instead of canceling his campaign events, Mitt Romney just rechristened them “storm relief events” and continued to hold rallies, this time complete with photo ops of Mitt Romney packing supplies into bags for shipment out East.
Not only did Romney continue to campaign under the guise that he was HELPING THE NEEDY, the way he was helping wasn’t the sort of help that relief organizations want or need. The Red Cross has specifically indicated that donations of supplies aren’t helpful; that they’d prefer donations of money. But I suppose a photo op of Mitt Romney, sleeves rolled up, baling a pile of money for Hurricane victims wouldn’t sit well with voters.
According to press who were at his “storm relief events,” even the charity showboating was carefully choreographed. Volunteers in matching tee shirts were instructed to “START PACKING!” only after cameras were rolling, campaign assistants carefully arranged a cornucopia of nonperishables in front of a table so that Mitt Romney could stand behind it with his sleeves rolled up acting like a guy who gives a shit.
Furthermore, according to Buzzfeed, the supplies that they collected from concerned donors were mostly purchased by the campaign, which then had volunteers pretend like they were packing donated items into bags to hand to Romney.
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.)
Meanwhile, Romney/Ryan campaign ads played in the back ground, reminding
storm relievers that if only they would vote for Mitt Romney for President, sure, they’d get a leader whose budget proposes gigantic slashes to FEMA and has suggested that storm relief should be privatized, but JUST LOOK AT HOW PRESIDENTIAL HE IS. Rolled up action sleeves! Real. American. Jeans. Boxes and boxes of food. Without Mitt Romney NONE OF THIS WOULD BE HAPPENING!
This marks the first time Mitt Romney has personally held a can of non-perishable food in his hand.