Romney, meanwhile, urged supporters to donate to the Red Cross to help victims of the superstorm without addressing the federal response or Obama's role.
Democratic critics of Romney and Ryan argue their proposals to cut government spending and provide broad tax cuts without generating more government revenue will end up harming the economy and increasing the federal deficit.
In particular, the Obama campaign challenges Romney's contention that increased economic growth from the tax cuts combined with shifting current federal responsibilities to states, the private sector and humanitarian agencies and charities can balance the budget.
Last year, Romney argued at a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire that cutting federal spending should be based on prioritizing what is absolutely necessary and shedding the rest.
Asked then by moderator John King of CNN if disaster relief efforts should be turned over to states, Romney said that "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."
"Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut -- we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep?" Romney added. "We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in."
King cut in to ask if Romney was referring specifically to disaster relief, a topic in the news at the time following a deadly Joplin, Missouri, tornado, and Romney continued: "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all."
With then-Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast on Monday, Romney's debate comments from 16 months earlier became a topic of political discussion.
Madden commented on the matter Wednesday, offering a similar statement to what the Romney campaign previously issued.
"Gov. Romney believes in a very efficient, effective disaster relief response and he believes one of the ways to do that is to put a premium on the states and their efforts to respond to these disasters," Madden said. "That's why they call them first responders. They're the first to respond in states. So traditionally they've been the best at responding to these disasters. ... But he does believe that FEMA has a really important role there and that being a partner for the states is the best approach."
Obama and the White House have emphasized the cooperation between federal, state and local authorities in responding to Sandy, with the president praising Christie on Wednesday for planning ahead and working with FEMA..
"I thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership," Obama said..
Romney has made political dysfunction in Washington a target of his campaign, blaming Obama for what he calls failed leadership in being unable to forge a deficit reduction deal with Republicans.
Democrats blame Republicans for what they contend has been an unwillingness to compromise, and the focus on cooperation by Obama and Biden appeared to be aimed in part at demonstrating the administration's ability to get things done.