Superstorm Sandy kept Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy busy. But you might not know it from the national media coverage.
A new survey released today found that Connecticut got only a fraction of the national attention paid to its larger neighbors, New York and New Jersey. And the state’s Democratic governor got only a tiny fraction of the coverage lavished on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Particularly the omnipresent Christie.
The study by HighBeam Research concluded that New York received 52.3 percent of the media attention related to Sandy since October 27, compared to 38.2 percent for New Jersey and 9.5 percent for Connecticut.
But when it comes to political coverage, the big winner — other than Barack Obama — was New Jersey’s hard-charging Republican governor. Christie received 72.1 percent of the attention dedicated to governors of states hit by the massive storm. New York’s Cuomo netted 26.5 percent — despite the national media focus on damage in Manhattan and on Staten Island.
He received just 1.4 percent of the coverage.
Things could have been a lot worse for the Connecticut governor.
At least the coverage he got was overwhelmingly positive.
Chris Christie addresses a gathering Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in North Wildwood, N.J., as he lays out preparation plans for Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
The morning after Sandy struck the East Coast, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was not about to get involved in any politically charged games.
While providing FOX and Friends with an update on Hurricane Sandy, Christie, one of many Romney/Ryan surrogates, was asked about the possibility of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney coming to tour the affected area with the governor. Christie was pretty blunt in his answer, when he said:
“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do here in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the shore. I’ve got floods in the Northern parts of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
Later on in the segment, Christie was also asked about the assistance he has been receiving from President Barack Obama. Christie did not hesitate before launching into his answer, praising President Obama:
“I spoke to the president three time yesterday. He called me for the last time at midnight last night, asking what he could do. I said if he could expedite designating New Jersey as a major disaster area that that would help us get federal money and resources in here as quickly as possible to clean up the damage here. President was great last night. He said he would get it done. At 2 a.m., I got a call from FEMA to answer a couple final questions and then he signed the declaration this morning. So I have to give president great credit. He has been on the phone with three times in the last 24 hours. He has been attentive and anything I have asked for, he has gotten to me. So I thank the president publicly for that, he has done, as far as I am concerned, a great job for Jersey.”
Christie also shared his views with his Twitter followers when around 12 p.m. ET, he tweeted: “I don’t give a damn about Election Day after what has happened here. I am worried about the people of New Jersey. #Sandy.” About an hour later, in another tweet, he once again mentioned working with president on cleanup efforts in New Jersey: “On conf call with POTUS discussing post-Sandy cleanup efforts in partnership with the feds. He is instructing Gov’t to lean forward to help.”
FEMA’s Michael Brown (left) and President George W. Bush, seen in 2003, were widely criticized for their response after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. (Getty Images)
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign has a new, unsolicited surrogate in Ohio.
Even as President Barack Obama’s and Romney’s campaigns have halted their campaigning in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the former director of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Michael Brown has stepped forward to criticize President Obama’s handling of the current natural disaster.
Brown is remembered for his time as the head of FEMA, when he was in charge of handling the agency response to Hurricane Katrina. At that time, President George W. Bush told Brown, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
In an interview with Denver Westword, Brown speculated that President Barack Obama might have acted too quickly:
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas? Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
Specifically, Brown did not think it was necessary for President Obama to hold a press conference on Sunday afternoon if the storm was not expected to hit until late afternoon on Monday and at that time, local officials such as New York Michael Bloomberg seemed to have the situation under control. However, he understands that the president might have erred on the side of caution:
“My guess is, he wants to get ahead of it — he doesn’t want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics in the middle of it. He probably figured Sunday was a good day to do a press conference.”
Brown also offered President Obama some advice:
“My advice to him is that he needs to call the cabinet and tell the cabinet members that if [current FEMA director] Craig Fugate calls and asks for something, the expectation is he is going to get whatever he needs.”
The president has done just that. When he made an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Red Cross in Washington, DC, President Obama said that he has ordered federal officials that the areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy should get all the help they need. According to him, he told them:
“Do not figure out why we can’t do something. I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape, I want you to cut through bureaucracy, there is no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward.”
To read the rest of Brown’s interview with Denver Westword, click here.
On the day after Hurricane Sandy smashed into the mid-Atlantic states, the presidential campaign was on hold.
Though official campaign efforts for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were on hold because of the disaster that affected nearly 20 percent of nation’s population, the presidential rivals behaved in very different ways.
Obama acted presidential, visiting the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington.
“During the darkness of the storm I think we saw what is brightest about America,” Obama said at Red Cross headquarters.
The president drew praise from area governors and mayors, including Romney surrogate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who thanked the president for helping coordinate relief efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Obama put his campaign efforts on hold yesterday, skipping a stop in Ohio, and Romney followed suit by clearing his campaign schedule as well. But the Republican nominee, during an impromptu storm-relief event in Ohio was dogged by his past support for de-funding FEMA.
During one of the Republican primary debates in 2011, Romney said he would favor cutting federal funding for FEMA and instead have individual states handle emergency relief. Thus far he has not made a comment on this issue following Hurricane Sandy.
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said: ‘‘A Romney-Ryan administration will always ensure that disaster funding is there for those in need. Period,” according to the Associated Press.
While Romney was playing political defense, Obama was the model of bipartisanship. He complimented local officials of both parties, saying without the steps taken by state and local officials, the death toll could have been much higher. He also went on to praise first responders and promised “no bureaucracy, no red tape” by the federal government in responding to this disaster.
“The most important message I have for (those affected by the storm) is: American is with you,” he said. “We will stand behind you and do everything we can to get you back on your feet.”
Though he might be at a disadvantage without the stage of the presidency, Romney is doing his best to look presidential, helping organize a relief effort in Ohio — one of the most sought-after swing states for next week’s election.
At the rally-turned-relief-effort Romney addressed the crowd of several hundred people, asking for their support.
‘‘We have heavy hearts as you know with all the suffering going on in a major part of our country — a lot of people hurting this morning,’’ he said, according to the Associated Press. ‘‘We’re looking for all the help we can get for all the families that need.’’
While this disaster, which has caused more than 25 confirmed deaths thus far, also could prove to be treacherous for the candidates who could run the risk of politicizing the incident.
Obama got out ahead of the issue yesterday when he said the election was the last thing he was concerned about, but that doesn’t mean his campaign team has totally shut down. This morning, the Obama campaign sent out an email requesting donations — but unlike most of the emails this election season, this request was to give money to the American Red Cross.
“This is a serious storm, but we are going to do what it takes to keep people safe and secure, and make sure the communities affected get the assistance they need,” Obama said, via the email. “FEMA is working with state and local governments to respond effectively. We all owe a debt of thanks to the first responders who will be dealing with the immediate impact of the storm.”
Chris Christie has been pro-actively on storm duty all day long. But New Jersey’s governor may have shocked the his Twitter followers on Monday night, when during the Superstorm Sandy at about 8:30 p.m. ET, he tweeted: “If conditions are not safe on Wednesday for Trick or Treating, I will sign an Executive Order rescheduling #Halloween.”
Younger New Jersey residents now can ride out the storm without having to worry about missing out Halloween, dressing up and consuming unhealthy amount of candy. This tweet was also not the only one sent out by Christie to reassure his younger constituents. Earlier that day, he tweeted: “For all the kids at home, there is no reason to be scared. The adults are taking care of business. #Sandy”
Halloween is not the only thing that might be rescheduled.
“We are anticipating that, based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on the federal election,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said during Monday’s conference call with reporters.
While federal law does require that the elections take place on a Tuesday following first Monday in November, there is an exception for when states fail to make such decision as could happen following Superstorm Sandy.
“It’s really too early to say what will be the impacts of the storm, and that’s why it’s again important that we’ll be supporting the governors’ teams and their supervisors of election or secretaries of state as they determine what … assistance they may need,” said Fugate.
Gov. Christie seems sure that he can reschedule Halloween, but Guillen reports that “the Federal Election Assistance Commission advises state election officials to “review existing State law to determine if the Governor has the power to cancel an election or designate alternative methods for distribution of ballots.””