WASHINGTON (AP) - Mitt Romney is making it clear that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has a role to play in dealing with events like Hurricane Sandy.
In a statement released by his campaign today, he says FEMA "plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters."
Just last year, as Romney fought for the GOP nomination, he appeared to suggest in a debate that FEMA should be shut down, and its responsibilities should be left to the states. He said, "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." And when he was asked whether that would include disaster relief, he said, "We cannot afford to do these things without jeopardizing the future for our kids."
But his campaign is now reassuring voters that his administration wouldn't leave disaster victims in the lurch.
The campaign isn't saying, though, whether Romney would insist that help for disaster victims be funded by cutting other programs in the federal budget, as many conservative Republicans insist.
Running mate Paul Ryan has been squarely on the side of cutting other spending to pay for disasters.