John McCain Marks Romney 'Storm Relief' Event With Aggressive Criticism Of Obama On Libya
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spoke on behalf of GOP
presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a "storm relief and volunteer
appreciation" event in Ohio on Tuesday, serving up a generous portion of hyper-partisan rhetoric
on President Barack Obama's handling of the September attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.
"This president is either engaged in a massive cover-up deceiving the
American people, or he is so grossly incompetent that he is not
qualified to be the commander in chief of our armed forces. It's either
one of them," McCain told Romney volunteers, according to NBC News
Four Americans died in the Sept. 11 attack on the compound in
Benghazi, and conservatives have questioned how the Obama administration
handled both the developing situation and its aftermath.
McCain's decision to politicize the supposedly apolitical event
underscores the difficulty of Romney's stated move to put aside campaign
tensions after the storm. Obama canceled his functions
in order to survey damage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
As the death toll from the hurricane continued to rise Tuesday
morning, Romney held a similar "storm relief" event in Ohio. HuffPost's Elise Foley reported
that Romney addressed only the storm, leaving aside politics, and spent
most of his time encouraging supporters to do what they could to help
those in need. He also dropped the traditional campaign music in an
effort to tone down his appearance, but a video biography of the former
Massachusetts governor's life did air before his remarks.
"We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going
on in a major part of our country," Romney told supporters. "A lot of
people are hurting this morning and they were hurting last night."
After his remarks, Romney helped collect and box up donations that his supporters had brought for victims of the hurricane.
Romney declined after the event
to address questions of a political nature, ignoring reporters'
inquiries about how he would deal with disaster relief funding and
whether he would visit New Jersey to survey damage from the storm.