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Romney: Able to break the gridlock?

“Just about everybody agrees Washington is a gridlocked mess. But who’s the man to fix it? After two years of brawling and brinkmanship between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, more voters trust Mitt Romney to break the stalemate, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows,” the AP writes. “Romney’s message — a vote for Obama is a vote for more gridlock — seems to be getting through. Almost half of likely voters, 47 percent, think the Republican challenger would be better at ending the logjam, compared with 37 percent for Obama.” 

“Mitt Romney on Wednesday stepped up his support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, further rebuffing accusations that he would end funding for disaster relief if elected president,” the Boston Globe says. Romney said in a statement: “I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”

His campaign though walked a fine line: “Governor Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” said Amanda Henneberg, a Romney campaign spokeswoman. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.” 

During the GOP primary when he said this about federal funding for disasters in a debate: “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 if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

But: “George Haddow, a private disaster relief consultant and former deputy chief of staff at FEMA during the 1990s, said Romney’s vision for FEMA sounds like that of former President George W. Bush, who was criticized for the government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. ‘The problem is it doesn’t reflect the reality of major disasters,’ Haddow said.” 

Haley Barbour on FOX: “The biggest change in the race is to Obama’s favor — and that's been this storm.” He added that he’d be “surprised if he doesn’t make a little bit of a comeback here.” He even said the storm was “like manna from heaven” for Obama. 

“By the second rally at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, [Romney’s] surrogates appeared ready for something more combative,” USA Today’s Kucinich writes. “As the Red Cross donation number beamed near him, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., slammed the president's foreign policy. ‘Remember, and he went to Egypt to apologize, to tell the world that the United States was going to be humbler and mellower and that, frankly, we are so sorry for the sacrifices of the Americans for generations,’ he said. ‘Well, now — now Egypt is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, in Libya, they murder our ambassador, kill three other brave Americans, and the president is nowhere to be found to answer what happened.’

“Later, [Jeb] Bush, who at the first rally had focused on the changes Romney would make to the country for the better, said the president was more focused on shifting the blame than bringing people together. ‘His entire strategy is to blame others — starting with my brother, of course,’ he said, referring to former president George W. Bush. ‘Basically, he blames every possible thing rather than having the humility to be able to reach out and to find common ground.’”

Despite GM criticizing the Jeep ad, Romney’s campaign defended it. Adviser Kevin Madden said the ad "makes the case for why Gov. Romney would be stronger for the auto industry and why the auto industry's an important part of a strong economy."