Romney Campaign Plays Convention Video At ‘Non-Political’ Storm Relief Event in Ohio

Despite promising to avoid political events while millions of residents in the northeast suffer through the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, Mitt Romney made stop in the crucial swing state of Ohio on Tuesday morning and engaged in the very kind of electioneering his campaign pledged to forego.

The event itself was billed as a “storm relief” benefit, and the Romney campaign asked supporters to bring with them food and other goods to donate to victims of the storm. But soon, reporters poked holes in the campaign’s explanation for staging the rally. First, the relief event was scheduled for the same time and location as a recently canceled political rally. Then, photos emerged, showing that donors were asked to wait to drop off their goods until Romney arrived to accept them himself, suggesting a photo op not unlike the one his running mate Paul Ryan staged earlier this month in a soup kitchen. And Salon noticed that the targeted recipient of all of the donations — the Red Cross — doesn’t even accept most of what the Romney campaign collected in Ohio.

But just in case there were any lingering questions over the political nature of the relief rally, Romney’s staff left no room for doubt when they aired a biographical video that was part of the Republican National Convention in August (and used by the campaign at political events since).

Even Stuart Stevens, a Romney aide and longtime GOP strategist, admitted that the campaign engaged in politicking at the Ohio event during an interview with NPR political correspondent Ari Shapiro:

Stevens later offered a possible explanation for the video, blaming it on the venue’s in-house Audio/Visual staff for airing the video:


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) condemned Obama in Ohio, while making an appearance on behalf of the candidate at a “storm relief and volunteer appreciation” event. “This president is either engaged in a massive cover-up deceiving the American people or he is so grossly incompetent that he is not qualified to be the commander in chief of our armed forces. It’s either one of them,” McCain told Romney volunteers.

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