Posts tagged Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy storm victims suffer as $60 billion aid plan gets porked up
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.
The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.
Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.
Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”
Matt Mayer of the conservative Heritage Foundation slammed the request as an “enormous Christmas gift worth of stuff.” “The funding here should be focused on helping the community and the people, not replacing federal assets or federal items,” he said.
Republican lawmakers say the lack of details and justifications for the spending will delay approval until after Christmas, while they analyze and document what spending is “appropriate.”
“To throw out a number this large without in-depth analysis and formal request detailing the basis for it I think is premature and I wouldn’t support that,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
Gov. Cuomo yesterday warned Congress not to hold up the money.
“There is no Plan B,” declared Cuomo at a press conference at the governor’s office in Manhattan, where he was joined by business and union leaders.
Mayor Bloomberg, however, called for careful scrutiny of the federal spending.
“You would think they’d want to ask questions before they give away the public’s money,” the mayor said on his radio program. source – NY Post
Did RINO NJ Gov. Chris Christie go out of his way to hand the election to Obama by lavishing him with praise and physical affection just days before the election? Please note the following article written by liberal news rag Bloomberg on October 31. Sort of makes you wonder how high a price-tag Christie put on the selling out of his conservative loyalties to join with Obama and Liberals.
Definition of RINO: It stands for Republican In Name Only.
From Bloomberg: It took a tragedy to bring them together, but there they were: President Barack Obama and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, arm in arm, complete with bro-to-bro handclasp and shoulder pat a week before the election.
Christie blows almost as hard every day as Sandy blew this week. Yet on Tuesday he stopped long enough to tell ABC News that the president, the same man he derided just a few weeks ago as needing a clue, was “outstanding” and that he had formed a great “partnership” with him.
Christie didn’t have to be so grateful or admiring. New Jersey is getting a lot of federal aid, but it’s not getting anything it’s not entitled to. Christie got his state money for recovery efforts that include infrastructure projects, temporary housing, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property loss and assistance to individuals and businesses.
Now Obama knows the feeling of having the Big Guy at your side. For all his bluster, Christie is a comforting presence. During the Republican presidential primaries, Mitt Romney had his best debate performance on the day that Christie endorsed him and then sat in the audience to watch his candidate.
This buddy movie is a campaign ad no amount of money could buy. Christie is treating Obama not as a failed leader but like a commander in chief. And because their partnership is not political, it has had a huge effect on the politics of the moment: a Republican governor rising above partisanship to give credit to a Democratic president, who is locked in a difficult campaign against the man the governor supports.
The timing for Obama couldn’t be better. To make the trip to New Jersey, the president had to give up an appearance with another Big Guy, Bill Clinton, in Florida and Iowa. This non-campaign stop more than made up for it. Wearing a FEMA windbreaker, coming to the scene of a catastrophe rather than campaigning, and doing so with a Republican governor (after all, Obama could have gone to see the devastation in New York with Governor Andrew Cuomo): All of it shows the difference between an incumbent and a candidate.
On Tuesday Christie was asked by Fox News if he’d also be giving Romney a tour of the storm-struck areas. “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” he said. “If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
In September my Bloomberg View colleague Josh Barro wrote that Romney lost the election on the day his dismissive remarks about “the 47 percent” were made public. If Obama wins this election, we may look back at today and say this hug in Brigantine, New Jersey, is the moment that sealed it for him. Obama and Christie made the politics of the presidential campaign look small, and reminded us that politicians care about something more than who’s ahead in Ohio. source – Bloomberg
Volunteers and disaster victims have taken rescue, recovery and security into their own hands on New York’s storm-ravaged borough of Staten Island, where they say FEMA has forgotten them.
Already without power for more than a week in the wake of superstorm Sandy, hard-hit residents of the borough’s South Shore braved a nor’easter Wednesday night, many — perhaps hundreds — huddling in condemned homes and ignoring orders to evacuate out of fear looters would take what little Mother Nature has left them.
“FEMA packed up everything yesterday and left the area,” said MaryLou Wong, whose home in the Midland Beach neighborhood was destroyed. “They haven’t come back.”
Punch-drunk residents’ ire is also aimed at the city — which is going door-to-door to order people out of their homes — at the American Red Cross, which some say has not done enough and at police and firefighters. One group of residents, calling themselves the “Brown Cross,” is patrolling the devastated streets, armed with walkie-talkies, and helping residents clear debris and pump water from their flooded homes. The group started with a dozen men, and has swollen to more than 100.
“We’re basically giving the people of the neighborhood organization,” Frank Recce, the 24-year-old longshoreman and Iraq Army veteran who organized the group, told FoxNews.com. “We were able to hit more than 200 houses by Monday. We’ve done more for our community than FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard combined, directly hitting houses and people in need.”
Last week, when President Obama toured the New Jersey and New York coastal areas hit hard by Sandy, he vowed to get help to the victims quickly.
“No bureaucracy. No red tape,” Obama vowed
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the storm could cost the state $33 billion. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the agency is helping, and urged people to go to www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
“FEMA is part of a big team on the response and recovery to Sandy, and we continue to closely coordinate with our partners in and outside of government,” Fugate said.
But it didn’t sit right with many that FEMA, citing the weather, closed temporary shelters as the nor’easter bore down on the borough — just when people needed them most. The agency was to open a pair of mobile disaster recovery centers at noon, after opening two earlier on Thursday. They had been closed Tuesday at 6 p.m. due to safety concerns in advance of the nor’easter that hit the borough.
“Locations are being opened back up and damage is being assessed,” Fugate said during a conference call on Thursday.
As of Thursday morning, more than 4,000 people were without power on Staten Island. Hundreds were staying in temporary shelters, where many complained they were treated like prisoners — given curfews and rationed food.
“It’s gotten pretty unbearable. People are sleeping on floors. The shelter wasn’t prepared,” Edwin Mansour, a Staten Island resident who has taken refuge at Bailey Seton Hospital since he lost his home during Sandy, told FoxNews.com. “Now [they're] locking us in, trying to turn this place into a homeless shelter. They’ve been giving us curfews. We have plenty of food but they are hoarding it in another part of the building, only handing a little bit out,” he added.
Many more victims — likely hundreds — chose to ride out the nor’easter in homes deemed unsafe out of fear that looters could strike and take whatever they have left.
“The big unknown is how many people are remaining in their homes, homes that are essentially uninhabitable, people who, by Friday or next week, when the weather gets colder and the rains come, are going to come to the realization that they can no longer stay where they are,” state Sen. Andrew Lanza told the Staten Island Advance.
The city Buildings Department was going door to door in Staten Island’s hard-hit neighborhoods and posting color-coded placards on homes to notify residents if they could go back in.
“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, our inspectors have been canvassing the City, inspecting affected buildings and tagging them with green, yellow or red placards based on their condition,” said Ryan Fitzgibbon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings. “This is part of our rapid assessment process to conduct as many initial inspections as quickly as possible and provide New Yorkers with information on the status of their buildings.”
Green and yellow placards signify the home is safe to re-enter, but for homes with red placards, the city advises residents to “hire a New York State-licensed professional (Registered Architect or Professional Engineer) to file plans with the department and a hire a contractor to make the necessary repairs.
Hiring an architect was not on the immediate horizon for residents who were simply trying to survive. Those who didn’t guard their homes went to shelters, and even huddled together on buses as the second storm, dubbed Athena, dumped nearly half-a-foot of snow. source – Fox News
Obama now knows he cannot win on a legit vote, so he must employ a series of dirty tricks to make sure he retains his stranglehold on the Oval Office. His greatest defenders – the liberal news media – are now beginning to forecast myriad grave and perhaps fatal problems with this election. Be prepared for anything tomorrow…
From NBC News (formerly MSNBC):
With more than 90 million Americans expected to cast their ballots on Tuesday, election officials across the country are bracing for what some fear will be a “perfect storm” of election day problems that could result in tense confrontations at polling stations and a rush to the courthouse to file legal challenges.
The list of actual and potential problems is unusually long this year, ranging from concerns about machine failures to confusion over new rules governing voter ID and provisional ballots.
Another big wild card: the impact of groups such as “True the Vote,” a Tea Party off-shoot, that is vowing to swarm polling places with an army of hundreds of thousands of “citizen” poll watchers to look for fraud and challenge ineligible voters.
It’s a threat that civil rights groups are vowing to fight with their own rival armies of poll watchers — to “monitor the monitors,” says one activist.
“Our election system has probably never been under as much strain as it is right now — anything that can go wrong, probably will go wrong,” said Victoria Bassetti, a former Senate Judiciary Committee counsel and the author of the new book, “Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters.”
Bassetti notes that the camps backing both President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have “pre-positioned their legal assets” by deploying thousands of volunteer lawyers to battleground states in order to challenge decisions by election supervisors, in court if necessary.
In Florida, the litigation is already heating up. On Sunday, the Florida Democratic Party filed emergency lawsuits to extend early voting — challenging GOP governor Rick Scott’s refusal to do so — after some voters were stuck in lines for up to six hours trying to meet Saturday’s deadline for early ballots. When the Miami Dade election office reopened to allow in-person absentee balloting, and then temporarily shut it down, frustrated voters started shouting, “Let Us Vote! Let Us Vote!”– stirred up by a man wearing an Obama campaign tee shirt.
It could be a preview of what happens Tuesday. “We can expect lots of yelling and screaming- and lawsuits,” said Bassetti.
The upshot is that, if the voting is as close as some (but not all) polls suggest, the winner of the presidential election may not be known for days, if not weeks, after Election Day. “We’re going to be in sudden death overtime,” predicts John Fund, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the co-author of “Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.”
To be sure, disputes about voting are hardly new – and some of the potential problems most frequently cited by advocates on both sides of the political fence could prove to be overblown.
But experts interviewed by NBC News identified a number of so-called “nightmare scenarios” that could complicate the counting of returns on Tuesday.
Here’s a look at four of those scenarios:
1) The national vote count for president is thrown into doubt because of the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast appears likely to hold down vote totals in the region. In New Jersey, hundreds of polling stations may be without power – late last week nearly half of the 240 locations in Hudson County were out of commission and officials are scrambling to find alternatives.
On Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration announced that it will allow voters to download ballots off a state Website and return them by e-mail – a system that some experts have warned could lead to tampering by hackers. (A voting group called the Verified Voting Foundation has repeatedly warned about the security risks from Internet voting.)
On Thursday, the state’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guardagno, said the state will deploy Defense Department trucks with “Vote Here” signs, protected by National Guard members. But that plan prompted concerns among some Democrats that military trucks could intimidate voters, especially in minority neighborhoods, and there were signs over the weekend that officials may be backing away from it.
“Obviously, this is uncharted water for us — getting hit with this at this late date just before a huge election,” said Michael Harper, the clerk of elections in New Jersey’s Hudson County, during a tour of damaged and flooded polling stations on Saturday.
While the hardest hit states like New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are all considered reliably Democratic and safely in the Obama column, the aftermath of the hurricane could affect the president’s total national vote counts – and raise questions about his mandate or even legitimacy if he loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College (just as some Democrats questioned President George W. Bush’s legitimacy after he lost the popular vote in 2000.)
2) A large number of provisional ballots makes the Electoral College winner impossible to determine on election night.
The situation appears most acute in Ohio, a crucial battleground, where some experts have warned about a counting disaster stemming from what are expected to be as many as 200,000 provisional ballots.
The background: in an effort to impose uniformity, GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted over the summer directed that absentee ballot applications be mailed out to all of the state’s 6.9 million registered voters – regardless of whether they had asked for them or not.
About 1.3 million voters filled out those applications and received absentee ballots in the mail. But as of this weekend, 238,678 voters who got absentee ballots had not returned them. If those voters don’t return their ballots by mail by tomorrow and try to go to the polls on Tuesday instead, they along with others whose eligibility could be questioned or who show up at the wrong polling station, will have to cast provisional ballots to make sure they haven’t vote twice. And under Ohio law, those ballots can’t even be counted until Nov. 16, ten days after Election Day.
“There’s a realistic chance that we will not know which candidate won the presidential election in Ohio because of the existence of provisional ballots, that we will be in overtime,” said Edward Foley, an election law expert and professor of law at Ohio State University.
The issue intensified on Friday when Husted issued a new directive that puts the burden on voters, rather than poll workers, to properly fill out a form recording what ID was presented for provisional ballots – and instructing election boards to throw out provisional ballots if the forms are incomplete or contain any mistakes. The directive has triggered a last minute law suit by voting rights groups, increasing the likelihood of disputes over the counting of provisional ballots in a pivotal battleground state.
3) Disputes over ballot printing errors, machine errors, and a lack of paper trail could bog down the counting in other battleground states.
This problem has already arisen in Florida. About 27,000 absentee ballots in Palm Beach County, Florida – famous for its “butterfly” ballots and hanging chads during the 2000 Florida recount – can’t be read by voting machines because of a printing error. This forced election officials last week to begin the arduous process of hand-copying those ballots in order to feed them into the machines – while lawyers from both sides looked on, raising challenges.
An exasperated Susan Bucher, the country’s election supervisor, was caught on camera admonishing lawyers over what she termed “frivolous” objections and threatening to eject them.
But questions about machine failures are far broader than that. Last week, lawyers for the Republican National Committee wrote letters to attorneys general in six states asking for investigations after receiving reports that some voters had complained that machines had recorded their votes for Mitt Romney as being for Obama.
Two voting experts warned on Saturday “we risk catastrophe” if recounts are required in Virginia and Pennsylvania “because most of their votes will be cast on paperless voting machines that are impossible to recount.”
4) Legions of citizen poll watchers on both sides create confusion and even chaos at some polling stations.
“True the Vote,” the Texas-based Tea Party inspired group, has launched an aggressive national effort to root out vote fraud, providing training videos and computer software (that contain data on property records and death indexes) to help volunteers identify ineligible voters who show up at the polls on Tuesday.
Hans Von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commissioner who serves as one of the group’s advisers, defends the effort, telling NBC News that in a close election “any bogus vote” needs to be stopped. “Anytime you have a close election, a small amount of fraud could make the difference.”
But voting rights groups say “True the Vote” and its affiliates threaten to intimidate legitimate voters – a prospect they aim to combat with their own battalions of citizen poll watchers on Tuesday.
Judith Browne Dianas, co-director of the “Advancement Project,” a civil rights group, says her organization has lined up thousands of lawyers and poll watchers in 20 key states to look for “suspicious activity” by True the Vote and its affiliates. “We will also be watching the poll watchers making sure they aren’t acting as bullies,” she says. source – NBC News
‘We Need Food, We Need Clothing’: Staten Island Residents Plead for Help 3 Days After Sandy
The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.
Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City. More than 80,000 residents are still without power. Many are homeless, and at least 19 people died on Staten Island because of the storm.
One of the devastated neighborhoods was overwhelmed by a violent surge of water. Residents described a super-sized wave as high as 20 feet, with water rushing into the streets like rapids.
Staten Island resident Mike Abuzzio’s home is completely gone, with only his floor boards remaining. He, his wife and their two young daughters have been staying with relatives.
“My youngest daughter yesterday said, ‘Daddy, I want to go,’” Abuzzio told ABC News. “I told her, ‘It’s going to be awhile, hon.’ She doesn’t understand. She’s 6.”
In the rubble that was once his home, Abuzzio found one clean, intact plate of Christmas china. He said that plate will be special at Christmastime and will be used specifically for his mother’s cookies.
For 48 hours after the storm, search teams were hunting for two Staten Island brothers, just 2- and 4-years-old. They were swept out of their mother’s arms when waves caused by storm surges crashed into the family’s SUV. Their small bodies were found today at the end of a dead-end street. Their parents were at the scene where the bodies were discovered.
Staten Island officials sounded increasingly desperate today, asking when supplies will arrive. They blasted the Red Cross for not being there when it counted.
“This is America, not a third world nation. We need food, we need clothing,” Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro said today. “My advice to the people of Staten Island is: Don’t donate the American Red Cross. Put their money elsewhere.”
The Red Cross and the National Guard arrived in the area late Tuesday and are distributing food, water and gas – and city officials say things are much better.
Molinaro urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday to cancel Sunday’s New York City Marathon. The race’s staging area is on Staten Island and Molinaro said it would be “crazy, asinine,” to have the race after what has happened.
“My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster,” Molinaro said Wednesday. “If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade. Now is the time to put your shoulder to the wheel. If they want to prepare for something, let them prepare for the election, not a marathon.”
“Do you realize how many police officers you need for a marathon?” he asked. “There are people looting stores on Midland Avenue. There is looting taking place in the homes on the South Shore that were destroyed. That is where we need the police.” source – ABC News
Riots in the streets
State troopers have been deployed at all gas stations along the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, where dwindling gasoline supplies are causing frayed nerves as the region endures its third full day with massive power outages.
Frustration with gas supplies topped the list of issues causing tensions to boil over in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the states hardest hit by power outages in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Residents jockeyed for fuel at the few stations still pumping, searched store shelves in vain for batteries, struggled with sporadic cell phone service and found themselves unable to buy necessities at supermarkets.
Gasoline, in heavy demand for both cars and home generators, had customers waiting in line for hours and losing patience throughout the Garden State, as well as in New York, and Connecticut. In Wayne, N.J, police reported breaking up angry confrontations at gas stations throughout the day on Wednesday. In Brooklyn, tempers flared outside a Getty station, with drivers getting out of their cars and exchanging angry words.
“I don’t have any lights and need this gasoline for my generator,” Abdul Rahim Anwar told Reuters as he waited at a Getty service station in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Officials said more than half of all gasoline service stations in the New York City area and New Jersey have been shut down because they are either out of fuel or don’t have power to operate pumps. In addition, pipelines and refineries have been shut down due to storm damage. More than 80 percent of stations in New Jersey were unable to sell gasoline as of Wednesday, according to the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association.
“Troopers have been deployed to monitor the operational gas stations at the rest areas along the turnpike,” New Jersey State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman told FoxNews.com.
Residents of southeastern Connecticut were driving more than an hour north to find stations with power to run their pumps. One attendant there said tension becomes especially raw when people wait in line to fill gas cans, as opposed to vehicle tanks.
“You’re waiting in line for five friggin’ gallons of gas!” he said.
At an Exxon station in Northvale, N.J., where a line of cars stretched for a third of a mile late into Wednesday night, and another line of men waiting to fill red jerry gas cans inched along,
“I’ll wait here all night,” said Barry Levin, 42, of Cliffside Park. “I need this for my family.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie moved to increase supplies of gasoline and diesel by waiving requirements that make it harder for stations to buy from out-of-state suppliers. The waiver will be in place until Nov. 7.
“When shortages threaten after natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, fuel buyers need to venture farther from state borders to ensure that their customers get the gasoline and diesel they need,” Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said. “Temporarily suspending licensing is a prudent way of empowering merchants to buy fuel farther from the state line, boosting supplies for New Jersey motorists who need fuel to get to work and do their jobs.”
Kevin Beyer, president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association in Smithtown, N.Y., said customers would be even more frustrated if they considered that the gas they need is underground – it just can’t be pumped.
“I have gas in the ground but no power,” Beyer said. “For many others they’re facing the opposite problem, with power but no gasoline. For the few stations that are lucky enough to have both they’ve got huge lines out front.”
Beyer estimated it could take until the end of next week to get all fuel stations operating again.
For now, the flow of precious fuel has slowed to a trickle and that has customers nerves frayed. Patch of Mendham-Chester, N.J., reported that a scuffle broke out Wednesday between two men bearing empty gas cans when one of the men filled his pick-up truck with gas after topping off his gas can. Shortly after he finished, the computer controlling the pump went dead, and a long line of hopeful customers was turned away.
Rivaling the demand for gas was the scarcity of D batteries, the kind most flashlights use. Virtually every store in New Jersey, New York City and Long Island was cleaned out, and there are reports of them selling for as much as $5 apiece.
At Lowe’s in Orange, N.Y., a manager said he and other employees – many without power in their own homes – have stayed in nearby hotels just to keep the store open and running.
“You see the worst in people at a time like this,” he said. “We’re trying to be there for them, but they get angry when they can’t get batteries or flashlights. I tell the staff not to take it personally – people are hurting.”
Supermarkets with their own generators managed to stay open and offer even perishable items. But other grocery stores went dark, or offered their customers an even more frustrating proposition: For instance, at the ShopRite supermarket in Neptune, N.J., food and supplies could be had – but customers were required to provide exact change.
Other targets of frustration are the utility crews working to restore power. With the daunting task of repairing nearly half of all service in New Jersey and as much as 80 percent on Long Island, local power companies are getting help from out of state. But that doesn’t stop angry calls to company offices and even occasional confrontations on streets – when utility workers can even be spotted. The Long Island Power Authority advised customers angry at a lack of visible LIPA crews that many working to restore electricity to Long Island have come from out of state and are using personal vehicles. source – Fox News
KETTERING, Ohio — Mitt Romney kicked off an event here in the battleground of Montgomery County, Ohio, on Tuesday morning, one day after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast, devastating parts of New Jersey and New York.
The stop was billed as a “storm relief” event, and attendees were asked to bring non-perishable foods and other items for those affected by the storm. Long white tables to one side of the cavernous James S. Trent Arena were piled high with flashlights, batteries, diapers, toothbrushes, mini-deodorants, fleece blankets, cereal, toilet paper and canned goods.
Two large TV screens at the front of the venue bore the logo of the American Red Cross and the message: “Sandy: Support the Relief Effort. Text ’REDCROSS’ to 90999 to make a $10 donation.”
But there remained many trappings of a campaign rally, including the soundtrack and a biographical Romney video.
Romney stood on a chair and spoke for less than five minutes. As throngs of supporters, reporters and TV cameras surrounded him, Romney made note of the items on the tables behind him.
“We’re going to box these things up in just a minute and put them on some trucks, and then we’re going to send them into, I think it’s New Jersey. There’s a site we’ve identified where we can take these goods and distribute them to people who need them,” he said.
He related a story of cleaning up a field after a high school football game, and told the crowd that he remembered when some Katrina evacuees were brought to Cape Cod — a destination that was much colder, he joked, than Houston, where the evacuees thought they were originally headed.
“And you know what? There were cars lined up, people dropping off all sorts of goods of all kinds, some things that were temporary like food, but others that were permanent like TV sets and clothes. It was just amazing to see the turnout. Its part of the American way,” Romney said.
As he wrapped up his remarks, Romney said that “to make this an enjoyable work setting, we’ve asked a great entertainer, Randy Owen, of Alabama, to be here. He’s an extraordinary guy.” Owen was scheduled to be a featured guest at the original rally, scheduled for the same venue, at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
He joked that the canned goods and other donations were a “cover charge” for supporters to hear the band’s performance. And then he hopped down from the trunk and, while the band played, he and Portman helped to put items in bags.
A pool reporter asked Romney nearly half a dozen times whether he would eliminate FEMA as president; each time, Romney ignored the question.
After about half an hour, Romney had exited. Many supporters began streaming out of the venue just after Romney had wrapped up his remarks.
Among them was Mary McGirr, a 63-year-old retired professor and Romney supporter from southern Dayton.
“I thought it was very appropriate,” McGirr said of the event. “I thought it was very presidential — not political. I think it gave people a feeling of helping out.”
Later Tuesday, Romney was expected to head to Tampa, Fla. source – Washington Post