It seems that Mitt Romney’s campaign is adopting a new slogan: “yes we can.” As in the canned goods the GOP presidential candidate is collecting to donate to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
But as Romney temporarily turned his presidential campaign into a massive food drive, he’s finding that, unlike franks and beans, charity and politics can be a tricky mix.
At Romney’s campaign rally on Tuesday that was hastily re-branded “storm relief” event, he asked attendees to bring food and goods to donate. “Long white tables to one side of the cavernous James S. Trent Arena were piled high with flashlights, batteries, diapers, toothbrushes, mini-deodorants, fleece blankets, cereal, toilet paper and canned goods,” our colleague Felicia Sonmez reports.
The effort was complicated by the fact that security at such events is pretty tight, and attendees had to get all of their bags containing donated goods checked out by the guys with the earpieces. Probably would have been far easier to just drop the stuff off at the nearest local food bank — or to text a donation to the Red Cross, as a sign at the event also suggested.
And in Virginia, the Romney campaign’s call for donations went out at an awkward time. Just as public safety officials and every weatherman in the country was warning people to stay off the roads and hunker down in advance of the damaging storm, Team Romney was urging them to hit the roads and come by campaign offices. “Bring donations to VA Victory offices,” tweeted Curt Cashour, Romney’s Virginia communications director, on Sunday.
Of course, Romney wants to avoid looking overtly political while much of the East Coast is assessing the ravages of Sandy (and while President Obama is trading his role as a candidate for that of commander-in-chief). Still, the campaign’s new, can-do mode clearly isn’t a perfect fit.