The “storm relief event” held by Mitt Romney on Tuesday in Ohio may have been slightly staged by his campaign, despite their efforts to create an apolitical event.
While the Romney campaign announced a suspension of rallies due to Hurricane Sandy, they announced that a “storm relief event” would take place in Ohio on Tuesday, reports BuzzFeed. One staffer present during the event setup stated:
“It took the production company and event staff on-site some time to ensure that it was converted into a space which was suitable for the needs of a relief effort.”
The plan for the event was to have supporters bring hurricane relief supplies to the event and deliver them to Romney, who would be behind a table, along with a ton of volunteers and Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
While the event was certainly a heart-felt gesture to the East Coast of the country, who is suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, some people in the campaign were worried that they would end up with an empty truck.
One staffer explained that campaign aides went to a local Walmart and spent $5,000 on relief supplies like granola bars, canned food, and diapers to display while they waited for the donations to come in.
But the event still had hitches, like reporters press badges that described the event as a “victory rally.” When it started, the two projector screens near the ceiling showed a 10-minute biographical video of Romney, which debuted at the RNC in August. A state campaign official stated that “someone from the audiovisual team” played the video without the campaign’s permission.
The Atlantic Wire notes that, to them, “the event was so manufactured” that supporters were allowed to use the donations bought by the campaign to hand to Romney as their “donations.”
Supporters who came to the event empty-handed were told by a volunteer to pick something up from the pile of groceries next to the candidate. The volunteer said, “Just grab something.”
Two teenage boys each grabbed a jar of peanut butter and got in line to hand their “donations” to Romney. When it was their turn, they handed the jars over to the Republican candidate, who took them, smiled, and earnestly said, “Thank you.”
Do you think the Mitt Romney campaign’s “storm relief event” was staged, or were they simply doing their part to contribute to the relief effort after Hurricane Sandy?