Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday claimed that he had stopped campaigning due to Hurricane Sandy and instead was holding so-called “storm relief events” where campaign advertisements were played for attendees.
Romney, along with his wife, Ann, and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, stopped by campaign offices and attended events in the swing state of Ohio just a day after the hurricane devastated much of the east coast.
“Campaign video playing at ‘storm relief event’ – there is an area roped off for supplies,” USA Today‘s Jackie Kucinich tweeted along with a photo.
New York Times political reporter Michael Barbaro noted that a sign at the Trent Arena in Kettering called the event a “Republican Campaign Rally.”
NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro tweeted a photo of press badge, which referred to the “storm relief event” in Dayton as a “victory rally.”
And even the music seemed at the Ohio events seemed more in line with a campaign rally than storm relief.
“So far Romney’s OH disaster relief event has every touchstone of a normal rally. Same warm up songs: Only in America, Hollywood Nights, etc,” Politico’s James Hohmann wrote on Twitter, adding, “‘Dancing in the street’ [which includes a lyric about New York City] just played at Romney’s Ohio event.”
“After the standard Romney bio video played at relief event in OH, they played Kiss’ ‘Detroit Rock City’ and Whitesnake’s ‘Here I go again,'” Hohmann observed.
“Romney campaigning in Ohio a week out? Reasonable. Pretending it’s a ‘storm relief event’? Smarmy, cowardly bullshit,” Jamison Foser tweeted.
“Is any reporter silly enough not to just say that Romney is continuing to campaign?” Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall asked on Twitter. “‘Storm relief events’ in Ohio w/ camp vids? Really?”
In the end, Romney’s rally may end up hurting relief efforts more than it’s helping, according to The Washington Post.
“Aides said Romney campaign offices would continue collecting supplies to donate later to storm victims — a move that goes against the advice of professional emergency managers, who have long advised that donations of money and blood are more critical in the hours before and after a storm,” the Post‘s Ed O’Keefe reported.
“Large amounts of donations cause significant management problems for those seeking to aid victims,” University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center director Kathleen Tierney told O’Keefe. “People often donate things that are not needed or requested. Standard advice is to give money to legitimate charities like the Red Cross and to other entities that are capable of managing those funds.”
Photo: Twitter/Ty Ray