KETTERING, Ohio - Mitt Romney repeatedly ignored questions about his position on federal funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at an event for storm victims Tuesday.
After speaking briefly to supporters and gathering donations Romney, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and some campaign staffers headed outside into the cold, rainy afternoon and proceeded to load up a yellow Penske truck with supplies, canned goods and other donated items.
"Governor, are you going to see some storm damage?" one reporter asked.
Several others again asked Romney whether he would eliminate FEMA.
"Governor, you've been asked 14 times. Why are you refusing to answer the question?" one asked.
Romney ignored the reporters' queries and continued loading up the truck. Earlier, during the event, he ignored similar queries.
During a 2011 primary debate, Romney supported the idea of curtailing federal disaster response and letting states and the private sector take on a bigger role.
"Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction," he said. "And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
Campaign aides insisted Monday that Romney would not abolish FEMA if he became president. President Obama has proposed cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 2013 that would reduce overall funding by about 3 percent, with $1 billion trimmed from the Disaster Relief Fund but more money given to state and local programs.