So, how do you top turning a previously scheduled campaign event into a “storm relief event” ? (No, I’m NOT making this up – why do you ask?)
1. Put out a call for items that cannot be accepted:
The Romney campaign encouraged attendees to bring canned goods, clothes and other items to be sent to hurricane victims. “We have a lot of goods here … that these people will need,” Romney said in his brief remarks. “We’re going to box them up, then send them into New Jersey.”
The Red Cross, for which Romney is soliciting donations, doesn’t even accept goods. “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,” the NGO’s website explains. With financial donations, they can buy exactly what is needed closer to the site, and it helps stimulate the local economy in the process.
2. Treat your guests to some sweet convention footage at this “non-political” event:
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).
3. Photo-op the collection of goods to a ridiculous degree:
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.
4. Finally, just to be on the safe side, stage the goods collecting too:
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?”
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.”
Five more days until this fool goes down; if not, we’re in for a world of hurt.