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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mitt Romney shakes the Etch-A-Sketch on FEMA

Talking Points Memo:

With a huge swath of the country digging out from a terrible storm, Mitt Romney seems to have found new respect for FEMA.

When Hurricane Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard just days ahead of the 2012 election, disaster relief became a campaign issue overnight — and one that presented a challenge to Romney. While the storm offered President Obama photo-ops and praise from Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Romney has struggled to carve out his own position on the federal government’s role in disaster relief efforts.

After arguing during the Republican primary that the states should oversee disaster relief efforts, the Romney campaign this week has been slowly carving out a position that does not ignore the federal government’s role. The most clarifying comment on disaster relief came late Wednesday in a statement to CBS News.

“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters,” Romney said in a statement from his campaign. “As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”

But Romney’s emphasis on the role of government is new to his position on disaster relief.


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