The Romney campaign put some backstage planning into their "storm relief event" in Ohio on Tuesday, according to BuzzFeed — buying supplies from a local Wal-Mart, just in case local supporters didn't provide enough.
The Romney campaign had sought to convert its "Victory Rally" event into a charity drive for Superstorm Sandy, in order to avoid the appearance of engaging in partisan business at the same as President Obama was coordinating the federal government's response to the damage caused by the natural disaster. However, some political trappings still remained, and the Romeny campaign had to hastily arrange its own call for supporters to donate food and supplies.
But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal-Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it "did donate supplies to the relief effort," but would not specify how much it spent.)
This later led to a staging for some supporters to hand supplies to Romney himself:
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."