Mitt Romney accepts "donations" that his campaign purchased and had people pretend to donate for photos.
While President Obama made the decision to cancel scheduled campaign appearances this week in light of the disaster that Hurricane Sandy has brought to New York City, New Jersey, and a number of other states, including the key battleground state of Ohio, Mitt Romney just couldn't pull the plug. Instead of doing the respectful thing and canceling his campaign appearance on Tuesday, just after Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, the Republican presidential candidate decided to re-brand his "Victory Rally" and call it "Relief Rally" instead.
The campaign decided that it would stage a photo op of Romney accepting food donations from supporters and loading up a truck with food after the event. But campaign staffers soon began to worry about the last minute nature of the call for donations, and worried that people wouldn't show up with anything. To ensure that Romney wasn't left without any donations and an empty truck, BuzzFeed reports that the campaign went out the night before the event and spent $5,000 at a local Wal-Mart. They bought up supplies like granola bars, canned food, and diapers. These items were then used as props to put on display while they waited for the real donations to show up.
For their part, the campaign says that it donated relief supplies, but would not confirm an amount.
What makes it all even more ridiculous is the fact that the Red Cross didn't even want the items that Romney's campaign collected. They'd have been better served with a $5,000 donations. Of course that wouldn't be as nice of a photo op as standing by a table overflowing with canned goods.
As for the actual content of the "relief" rally, it was more like a regular campaign rally, or a "Victory Rally" as the Romney campaign likes to call them. There was a brief obligatory mention of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy left when it made landfall on the East Coast, but otherwise, it was business as usual.
Press in attendance even wore press badges (given to them by the campaign) that still had "Victory Rally" emblazoned on them. Fortunately, they didn't let Romney off the hook and called him out on the true nature of the rally.
It wasn't a relief rally. It was a pathetic photo op on par with his running mate Paul Ryan's soup kitchen fiasco. You know, the one where Ryan showed up to an Ohio soup kitchen after all the needy had been fed and left and pretended to wash pans that were already clean. That was all a photo op too - there was no one to be fed and no dishes to be washed.