President Barack Obama yesterday afternoon went to the headquarters of the Red Cross to thank them for their efforts in the face of the largest hurricane the East Coast has ever seen: Hurricane Sandy. As the president was thanking the Red Cross workers, Mitt Romney and his campaign were accepting donations of canned goods, blankets, an bottled water — those they hadn’t already purchased as photo op props — and forcing the Red Cross to violate their own rules and regulations, printed right on their website, that state:
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.
“There are places like Newark, New Jersey, for example, where you’ve got 80, 90 percent of the people without power,” Obama added. “We can’t have a situation where that lasts for days on end. And so my instructions to the federal agency has been, do not figure out why we can’t do something; I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy. There’s no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they need — where they’re needed as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney yesterday held a World War II styled “relief effort,” complete with a canned goods drive. Romney told people to donate supplies, and then told the Red Cross to accept them, despite the logistical constraints.
Initially, the Romney campaign was only going to give donations of supplies to GOP swing states, and ignore the two areas hardest hit: New Jersey and the New York City area.
The Red Cross changed Romney’s plans, and accepted supplies in to their New Jersey warehouse. The Red Cross was mum on who would be the recipients of those supplies.
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