Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) criticized GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday for traveling to Louisiana to survey damage left by Hurricane Isaac, saying his vice presidential pick aimed to block disaster relief last fall as a member of the House of Representatives.
"It is the height of hypocrisy for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to make a pretense of showing sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Isaac when their policies would leave those affected by this disaster stranded and on their own," Reid said in a statement.
Romney visited Lafitte, La., Friday to meet with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and first responders to the hurricane. "I'm here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what's going here,” Romney told Jindal, according to a pool report. "So that people around the country know that people [down] here need help."
But Reid didn't see it that way. He used the visit as an opportunity to bring up Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget, which he said would "gut disaster funding, making it much harder to get aid to our fellow Americans in their time of need."
"This is yet another example of Mitt Romney's extreme right wing agenda, which asks middle class families to sacrifice in order to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying their fair share," Reid said.
Ryan campaign spokesman Brendan Buck responded with a counterattack.
"Paul Ryan believes providing aid to victims of natural disasters is a critical obligation and should be treated as a high priority within a fiscally responsible budget," he said. "It's sad that some see these heartbreaking events as opportunities to distort his record and play politics."
When reporters asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about Romney's visit, he took a far more diplomatic tone than Reid had.
"I think that it's always important to draw attention to the fact that individuals and families and business owners are profoundly affected ... that's an important thing to do," Carney said.