GOP Strategist Defends Romney’s Plan To Dismantle FEMA

Atlantic City, NJ

Mitt Romney’s past comments about dismantling FEMA and privatizing disaster relief have come back to haunt him as Hurricane Sandy begins to wreak havoc on the East Coast. Still, one Republican strategist, Ron Bonjean, agrees with him. On CNN Monday morning, Bonjean, a private consultant who advises GOP congressional leaders, defended Romney, suggesting that even talking about federal disaster relief is politically toxic:

Most people don’t have a positive impression of FEMA and I think Mitt Romney was right on the button. But I don’t think anybody cares about that right now. I think people care about whether or not their power’s on, whether or not their basement’s going to be flooded. And I think that if the president gets too far in front of this and something goes wrong, people are going to remember, hey, my power’s not out, and the president’s talking about FEMA. I’m not a real big fan of FEMA. That could sway their vote.

Watch it:

Sandy has already caused severe flooding in the Northeast, hours before the worst of the storm is projected to hit. President Obama has declared a state of emergency in 7 states and DC after several governors’ urgent requests for federal aid to combat the storm. Though Bonjean fails to make the connection between FEMA’s services and people worrying about their power going out, the agency has already dispatched emergency power teams to try to reinforce vulnerable power grids before the storm hits and provided hundreds of generators and other back-up power sources. Americans are unfortunately well-acquainted with the agency, despite Bonjean’s insistence that they “don’t care” about it; a recent study of FEMA data found that, since 2006, 4 out of 5 Americans have been affected by weather-related disasters.