Mitt Romney Ignores FEMA Questions After Saying He Would Abolish Agency

Mitt Romney wants FEMA abolished if he becomes president, but with a superstorm bearing down on the eastern United States, the GOP candidate doesn’t want to talk about it.

As The Huffington Post noted, reporters covering a “storm relief” event organized in Ohio by the GOP candidate asked Mitt Romney about FEMA numerous times, only to have Romney ignore their comments.

The Romney pool report noted:

TV pool asked Romney at least five times whether he would eliminate FEMA as president/what he would do with FEMA. He ignored the qs but they are audible on cam. The music stopped at points and the qs would have been audible to him.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which has moved past the eastern seaboard and is cutting a path through Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney has faced increasing questions on what he would do to FEMA if elected.

Asked at a debate during the GOP primary about federal emergency services, Romney said he would eliminate FEMA and instead give those responsibilities to states:

“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 the opposite question, what should we keep?”

When asked if that also meant disaster relief, Romney said:

“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

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At the event on Tuesday, Romney was dogged by reporters to talk the FEMA comments. The pool report noted the many questions about FEMA he ignored:

“Gov are you going to eliminate FEMA?” a print pooler shouted, receiving no response.Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored.

Romney kept coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions:

“Gov are you going to see some storm damage?”

“Gov has [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?”

“Gov you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?”

As criticism of Mitt Romney’s FEMA comments have mounted, his campaign has clarified that he would not eliminate FEMA, despite what appeared to be rhetoric to the contrary, the Washington Post reported.

“Governor Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”

Mitt Romney’s FEMA comments were not the only criticism he was taking related to Hurricane Sandy. He and running mate Paul Ryan said they were canceling all campaign events “out of sensitivity” to victims of the Hurricane, but Romney replaced a campaign stop in Ohio with a “disaster relief” event at the same time and same place.