The Washington Post

Ohio Democratic chair accuses Romney of taking advantage of tragedy

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern on Tuesday accused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of politicizing Hurricane Sandy with a Dayton event that was billed as storm relief but also had characteristics of a campaign rally.

Romney spoke only briefly at the event, to encourage donations to storm victims, and volunteers collected canned goods to send to those suffering in New Jersey. But Romney’s biographical video, routinely played at campaign rallies, was used to introduce the event, as was his routine rally music.

“I think Gov. Romney ought to be focused on things he could do and say on behalf of the victims, rather than going to Dayton Ohio — the most important swing state in the country — and taking advantage of a tragedy,” Redfern said.

“Look, I’m a partisan. I’ll let others judge this,” he continued. “But I think someone of Gov. Romney’s wealth could have just written a check for $10 million to the American Red Cross and then spent today with his family. He chose to do something much different. He chose to politicize this." 

Ohio Republican Party spokesman Matthew Henderson countered that Democrats were the ones making a disaster political. 

“It’s wrong to see the Ohio Democratic Party politicize an attempt to aid relief efforts. Governor Romney’s first and only concern is for the safety and well-being of those who have been impacted by the storm’s path," Henderson said. "It’s shameful that the Democratic Party would try to impugn Governor Romney for raising funds for and turning attention to the victims of the hurricane while he was here in Ohio.”

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

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