POLITICS

In Virginia, a transformed Romney enjoys himself, thrives on supporters’ energy

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering

While Mitt Romney attended a rally of Virginians at the George Mason University's Patriot Center, he marveled at their numbers and enthusiasm. In fact, the crowds were so loud in the stadium Romney remarked that “I’m looking around to see if we have the Beatles here or something.”

Meanwhile Obama was watching in Ohio as rap artist Jay-Z roused the crowd. “If you having world problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but Mitt ain’t one,” he rapped as the crowd exploded in applause.

“It is an incredible honor to have Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen on the same bill, Obama said to the cheering crowd. “And not only are they all on my iPod — and, yes, the President has an iPod – but it’s also because both of them tell an American story.”

In Virginia, however, Mitt Romney only had a supporting cast of Virginia Republican candidates, Governor Bob McDonnell, and of course his wife Ann, who was welcomed with a roar of applause as she took the stage.

“Are we going to be neighbors soon?” Ann politely asked before introducing her husband. The crowd laughed and cheered. Ann reminded the voters in the stadium that there were at least as many people waiting outside as there were in the building.

According to the campaign, the fire marshal estimated that there were 8,500 people inside the Patriot Center and an estimated 3,000 outside in the overflow crowd after they shut the doors. Inside, the stadium was split to create a backdrop, but had they opened the rest of the stadium it easily would have been filled. Romney and his wife Ann, however, spoke to the overflow crowd after the event.

People began lining up as soon 9:00 a.m with food and blankets to wait until the 12:45 p.m. opening. The campaign promised souvenir foam footballs for the first 500 supporters, but many of the supporters waiting in line shrugged when they were handed their coupon.

When I asked a woman in the front of the line why she and others had shown up so early, she looked at me in disbelief. “To see the next president, of course,” she said simply.

The energy from the crowd is impossible ignore, especially for Romney. The candidate once criticized for appearing stiff and unfeeling was now clearly enjoying himself as he approached  the finish line.

The enthusiasm in his voice was apparent, as he confidently shouted out questions to the crowd knowing that each time he would get a rousing response.

“Did Obamacare create jobs?” he asked. “No!” the crowd shouted in response.

“Card check! Does that create jobs?” he asked. “No!” the crowd shouted.

After asking several more questions, a delighted Romney said with a chuckle, “Good, you passed the test!”

Romney was interrupted several times during his speech as supporters repeatedly shouted, “One more day! One more day!”

He responded to their cheers, giving voters a taste of the final victory, convincing supporters that it was within their grasp.

“Tomorrow, on November 6th we come together for a better future, and on November 7th we’ll get to work,” he said.

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