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Maddow: Romney donations may be useless to Red Cross

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:54 EDT
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Maddow on storm relief
 
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Rachel Maddow dedicated a portion of Tuesday night’s program to discussing the plan by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)’s presidential campaign to solicit donations of canned goods and other supplies for the Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and how they ultimately may end up being more bother for the organization than they’re worth.

President Obama went on Tuesday to Red Cross headquarters in Washington to thank the organization for its efforts in the face of the disaster and to urge the public to donate much-needed funds to the organization.

“For those around the country who have not been affected,” Obama said in his remarks, “now is the time to show the kind of generosity that makes America the greatest nation on earth.”

And while the president canceled all campaign events for Tuesday and Wednesday, the Romney/Ryan campaign did so only in name, continuing to hold campaign rallies, but rebranding them as “storm relief events.”

The events were held in the same places at the same times as the scheduled campaign rallies, with the same celebrity guests and obligatory viewing of the campaign’s promotional videos.  According to Maddow, essentially the campaign had its regularly scheduled rallies while getting credit for canceling them out of respect for storm victims.

“Mr. Romney made did a big, ornate show of being seen to be handling canned goods, which the campaign made a big show of saying would be donated to the Red Cross, so they got the photo-op they wanted,” Maddow said.

“However well Mr. Romney’s piles of cans may have worked for him as a photo-op, that’s not actually what the Red Cross wants or needs people to do to actually help,” she continued.

The Red Cross website says, “Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel…Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to buy exactly what is needed for a disaster relief operation.”

One of the functions of leadership at a time like this, said Maddow, is to help direct the desire on the part of the public to help in productive and useful directions, rather than creating more work for disaster relief agencies.

“This is not a hypothetical thing.  This is one of the things you’re supposed to do as a leader in a time of crisis,” she said.

Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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