Mitt Romney

FEMA Comments Coming Back to Haunt Romney

Said disaster relief should be a state responsibility

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Politicians decry the Federal Emergency Management Agency at their peril. They never know when they might find themselves shamefully explaining away a misstatement or even a snarky remark about the federal disaster assistance agency in the wake of a big storm. Like now.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney suggested last year in a primary debate that the role of states should be strengthened in response to natural disasters, and that the federal role should decrease. "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 back then.

Here's what he's saying now, through spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in an e-mail to National Journal. "States should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions. As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities."