Two days ago, reporters asked Mitt Romney 14 different times whether he still supported eliminating FEMA, a position that he took during the Republican primary. 14 different times he refused to answer. Last night, his campaign released a statement from him purporting to answer the question:
“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters,” Romney said in a statement supplied by his campaign Wednesday. “As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”
Of course, the statement actually says little to nothing about what Romney would do. It starts out by stating the obvious—that FEMA currently plays a key role in disaster management. It then says Romney believes FEMA should have the funding it needs, but he doesn’t elaborate on exactly what that means other than to say he believes states and localities are in the best position to take the lead in recovery efforts. In the end, he offered a decent number of words, but it’s impossible to say exactly what they mean. And given his self-imposed gag order—more than a month since answering a question from a reporter covering his campaign and three weeks since sitting down for an interview—there’s very little chance of getting any clarification before election day. I guess in the end that won’t matter, though, because this is not an election Mitt Romney is going to win.
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