When Mitt Romney's campaign made the hasty decision to transform yesterday's planned Ohio campaign event into a Hurricane Sandy disaster relief rally, they were afraid no one would get the message in time to bring donations, hence ruining the photo-op. So campaign aides ran to Walmart the night before and bought $5,000 worth of supplies like granola bars, canned food, and diapers, sources tell Buzzfeed. To greet Romney, supporters had to hand him some donation, but if they didn't have one, they were told to "just grab something" from the pile of pre-purchased groceries.
Liberals had been criticizing the rally even before the Buzzfeed story broke, because the Red Cross actively discourages donations of goods; it has thanked Romney, but urged people to donate money or blood instead. Ohio's Democratic Party Chairman went so far as to accuse Romney of "taking advantage of a tragedy," the Washington Post reports. But Romney did also solicit monetary donations for the charity, and today made one of his own, an aide tells the paper, though he wouldn't say for how much.