AMHERST, N.H. -- Mitt Romney called the Hurricane Katrina cleanup effort in New Orleans "a disappointing process," especially after the federal government has spent "one heck of a lot of money".
"You have you ask yourself, have we managed [the money] as well as we could have," Romney said in response to an audience member's question at a general store here.
Romney said he thought that the recovery effort next door in Mississippi was "going well and being effectively managed," citing Republican Governor Haley Barbour as possibly the reason. But he said he wasn't sure who to blame in New Orleans.
"Is it the mayor? Is it the governor? Is it FEMA? Is it the federal guys? I don't know where the problem lies, but $70 billion is an awful a lot of money and I would have hoped to see more progress," Romney said.
Both the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana are Democrats.
Romney said later to reporters that he was not trying to make a partisan statement, just report what he saw.
If he were elected president, Romney told the audience of 75 that he would work to restore the region.
"At this stage, we would continue to invest to return New Orleans and a major portion of our country to economic viability and livability," Romney said.