The presidential campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are scrambling to revise their travel plans and scheduled appearances in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, which weather forecasters predict will hit the eastern coastline of the United States late on October 29.
The hurricane, known as “Frankenstorm”, could be the largest storm to ever make landfall in the mainland United States, according to a Reuters report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm is predicted to produce a combination of devastating winds, rain, flooding, and snowfall.
As residents along the East Coast begin making emergency preparations and evacuations, a segment of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney from a 2011 Republican presidential debate describing his idea of shutting down the Federal Emergency Management Agency – known as FEMA – was discovered by a blogger at the Huffington Post website on the evening of October 28.
In the CNN New Hampshire GOP debate on June 13, 2011, Romney answers a question about whether he would defund FEMA if he is elected president, asked in the context of the federal agency running out of money after the tornado disasters in Joplin, Missouri.
The debate moderator, CNN anchor John King, asked Romney directly, “What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?”
Romney responded by saying:
“Absolutely. 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.”
At that point, King interrupted Romney by asking, “Including disaster relief, though?”
Without hesitation, Romney replied, “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.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with other governors in states along the East Coast, are urging residents to prepare for power outages, flooding, and make evacuation plans. Gov. Christie, Gov. Cuomo, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett have all declared a state of emergency in their respective states in anticipation of the storm’s devastating impact.