Romney camp spent $5,000 to stage storm relief event

The Romney campaign stocked up at Walmart before a disaster relief photo-op

By Jillian Rayfield

Published October 31, 2012 5:41PM (EDT)

The Romney campaign changed a planned campaign event in Dayton, Ohio into a Hurricane Sandy "storm relief event," but due to the last-minute change was left spending $5,000 at Walmart for "donations" to put on display.

Supporters were told to bring supplies to the event and then bring them up to a table where Romney would be sitting with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. "To complete the project and photo-op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside," McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed writes.

But the night before, campaign staff stocked up on supplies at Walmart, to the tune of $5,000, just to be sure they had enough for the photo op.

From Buzzfeed:

As supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney/Ryan t-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, 'You need a donation to get in line!'

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, 'What if we dropped off our donations up front?'

The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. 'Just grab something,'he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their 'donations' to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest 'Thank you.'"

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2012 Elections Barack Obama Hurricane Sandy Mitt Romney Ohio