As the East Coast and parts of Ohio struggled to regroup in the devastating wake of “Superstorm” Sandy, the Romney campaign hastily transformed a scheduled victory rally in Dayton, Ohio into a non-political “storm relief event” on Tuesday. According to BuzzFeed, the campaign encouraged supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies and “deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman.”
Just to be safe, campaign aides reportedly spent $5,000 at a local Wal-Mart on supplies that could be put on display. When supporters arrived at the rally-turned-relief event, they were treated to the 10-minute video about Romney’s life, which was first unveiled at the RNC. The event ended with supporters lined up to hand over supplies and meet Romney. But according to BuzzFeed, this donation process was also staged:
Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”
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The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.
Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest “Thank you.”
The Red Cross, meanwhile, said they were grateful for the supplies but encouraged people to donate money or blood as a more efficient way to help the relief effort.