CNN interview on damage from storm surge. Governor Jack Markell from Delaware in remarks on Sandy and federal disaster relief from FEMA: “Romney is an idiot.”

Would Romney abolish FEMA? His campaign says no

DAVENPORT, Iowa–As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Mitt Romney’s campaign is pushing back against suggestions that he wants to abolish the Federal Emergency Management Agency–insisting that he would simply prefer to see states take a greater role in disaster relief.

At a GOP primary debate in June 2011, Romney, when asked about FEMA’s budget woes and how he would deal with it, had said, “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.”

During that debate, the moderator, CNN’s John King, had gone on to ask if that included “disaster relief.” Romney suggested it did.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal group, called attention to Romney’s remarks in an email to reporters on Sunday.

Asked for clarification today, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the GOP nominee wasn’t implying he would get rid of FEMA, but rather that he simply wants states to play a greater role in disaster response.

Twitter accounts for storm, relief updates

Hurricane puts spotlight on Romney’s past FEMA remarks

(USA Today) – With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast, comments that Mitt Romney made during the GOP primary about federal disaster relief are facing fresh scrutiny.

Back in December 2011, Romney commented during a GOP debate that it was “immoral” for the federal government to unnecessarily spend money on disaster relief in the face of yawning deficits.

Some liberal commentators, including Matthew Yglesias of Slate, said the comments underscore that Romney wants to cut funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the Romney campaign has pushed back against the assertion.

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

During his time as governor in Massachusetts, Romney requested federal emergency aid for the Commonwealth on several occasions:
— In December 2003, he requested funds from the George W. Bush administration for 12 of 14 Massachusetts’ counties following a massive snowstorm there;
— In January 2005, Romney requested FEMA funds for snow removal after record snowfalls there, according State House New Service;
— In June 2005, his administration requested FEMA funds to deal with the Red Tide outbreak.

As governor of Massachusetts Romney received mixed reviews when it came to disaster preparedness and at least one state Senate committee issued reports that indicated Romney left the state vulnerable at the end of his term.

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