Romney Visits Isaac Victims, Slips In Odds Of Beating Obama
Leaving behind RNC convention joviality following his acceptance speech on Thursday, Mitt Romney arrived in Louisiana to visit the flooded and damaged communities impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac.
Romney visited emergency crews that were still trying to assist victims, saying "he wanted to understand the extent of devastation and "obviously to draw attention ... so that people around the country know that people down here need help."
He arrived as the heat index neared 100 degrees and with 500,000 homes and businesses in the New Orleans area still without power -- and thus air conditioning, according to NBC News.
The AP reported that Romney had announced his visit to Louisiana less than 12 hours after he accepted his GOP presidential nomination. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he had been in touch with Romney a few days prior and had extended an invitation to Obama as well.
President Obama will be visiting on Monday:
- White House spokesman Jay Carney announced that President Barack Obama will visit the state Monday to examine the water and wind damage caused by Isaac.
- Obama declared the impact on Louisiana and Mississippi major disasters in order to release federal aid for a region that has suffered up to $2 billion in damages, a fraction of the $41 billion cost of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, according to The Guardian.
"We're thrilled that Gov. Romney's coming today," Jindal said at a press conference. "We're thrilled that the president's coming on Monday. We welcome them both... We're not talking politics. That's not the right time to do that. We're solely focused on the hurricane and the response," he said.
However, Democrats did not hesitate to point out how Republicans have proposed cuts in federal disaster funding that will now be needed to aid the Gulf Coast's recovery, reported the AP:
- "It is the height of hypocrisy for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to make a pretense of showing sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Isaac when their policies would leave those affected by this disaster stranded and on their own," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a written statement.
The tropical storm's 16 inches of rain has required the rescue of 500 people via boat or high-water vehicles and has claimed at least five lives, though more could be found once the flooding recedes over the next few days. As of Friday, about 700,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were without power, a bit of an improvement from the 1 million without power initially.
And though Romney's visit to Louisiana may not be political, his speech has garnered speculation on where he will fall in the polls. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Romney has slid behind President Obama's odds of re-election based on Intrade's projections (a Dublin-based bookmaker). Obama's chances increased to 56.8 percent today, a tone percentage-point increase from yesterday, while Romney's decreased to 43.4 percent.
Reach Executive Producer Paige Brettingen here.