Gov. Mitt Romney was taunted Tuesday by reporters who wanted to know if he would abolish FEMA.
According to the Washington Post, Romney was asked repeatedly whether he would end federal disaster assistance – and scolded for not answering – as Hurricane Sandy wrought destruction across the upper East Coast:
Several others again asked Romney whether he would eliminate FEMA.
“Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times. Why are you refusing to answer the question?” one asked.
Romney ignored the reporters’ queries and continued loading up the truck. Earlier, during the event, he ignored similar queries.
It’s hard to imagine the press corps addressing President Obama in this manner, even when he was just a candidate for president.
The same mainstream presidential campaign media that has failed to ask Obama – or even, in recent days, his press secretary – about Benghazi was hot on Romney’s heals for something Romney never said he would do.
Rather, what Romney said during a June 2011 GOP primary debate was that he would increase the share of state responsibility for disaster management.
Moderator John King: FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
Romney: Absolutely. 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. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in.
Notice I have bolded the question Romney was actually responding to. What he gave was a standard conservative reply about de-federalization, a common-sense approach that assumes states understand best what their needs are.
What’s more, campaign aides had already told reporters Monday that Romney would not abolish FEMA.