Do you ever wonder who gets up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend? Apparently, Romney supporters do. This weekend, enthusiastic Romney supporters came to stand in line as early as 7 am, arriving hours before his post convention mid-morning rally at Cincinnati’s notable, historic Union Terminal. Whether or not Romney earned your vote in the March primary, he is now the GOP nominee. Romney’s opener, “This is a great state“.
The curious, the party faithful, political “groupies” and junkies, tea-partiers, and the newly energized converged to take advantage of an opportunity to see the newly anointed Republican Presidential nominee firsthand in the rotunda of the Cincinnati Museum Center Union Terminal. The “youth vote”, families, children, and supporters of all ages and groups were represented.
Crowds lined down the front sidewalk, then meandered through several rows of parking and down to the far end of the parking lot by the posted 8:30 am door opening. Delays with security and organization delayed TSA screening measures and admittance to the rotunda by nearly an hour. The atmosphere in the parking lot line was festive and social.
The exception was two late arriving “line jumpers” who decided to join friends in line, circumventing a lengthy wait the length of the parking lot and back again, which provoked the ire of a relentless woman in pursuit of shaming the offenders all the way up to the door security checkpoints. One observer, trying to diffuse an impending altercation with the dogged “line monitor” admonished, “Hey, this is not an Obama rally”! At the risk of sounding like “Captain Obvious”, it was awkward for onlookers, to say the least.
A handful of Obama supporters stood out front of Union Terminal holding signs.
The Romney campaign chose Cincinnati’s Union Terminal as their first post-convention campaign stop, confirming Ohio’s pivotal role in Romney’s presidential election prospects in November. Recent polling shows a very tight race. Ann Romney was warmly greeted by supporters who cheered her for her speech at the RNC Convention. Ann Romney was immensely popular with the crowd and may be well on her way to becoming somewhat of a media “celebrity” in her own right.
“Super volunteers”, those who make “it” happen (phone calls, door knocks) took stage behind the candidates, along with Cincinnati Tea Party (CTP) founder and candidate for Ohio (28), Mike Wilson, his wife Joni, and current CTP President, George Brunemann, and his wife Nancy.
The Romney campaign and the Republican Party seemingly embraced the Tea Party with the introduction of CTP’s past and current presidents during opening remarks. Is it possible that GOP party insiders now recognize the work and tireless dedication of the grassroots activists and conservatives? However, the battle over the RNC Convention delegate rules changes earlier this week could belie that theory.
Romney was preceded by the prerequisite parade of candidates and officeholders, some of them representing a “Who’s Who” of RINO’s. Hamilton County GOP Chairman, Alex Triantafilou, expertly emceed the event, with Dr. Brad Wenstrup, Josh Mandel, Steve Chabot, Rob Portman, House Speaker John Boehner, and Ann Romney making brief remarks. Remarkably, Speaker Boehner received more than polite applause, despite what many perceive as his lackluster leadership during his tenure as Speaker.
Romney, welcomed with chants of “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt”, spoke to a crowd of between 3000 – 4000 for just under 20 minutes about:
- Helping American families by growing the economy and creating jobs
- U.S. unemployment, underemployment, or “given up” numbering 23 million Americans
- America’s greatness and accomplishments, remembering Neil Armstrong
- Making national unity and pride a focal point, ending divisions
- Repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better
Some impressions from talking with other attendees in the rotunda:
- No sign of dissenters inside, unless some members of the media might be considered…
- Pre-convention opinions of Mitt Romney have transformed to favorable/personable (the all-important “likeability”)
- Romney has an accomplished professional record; distinguished, respected career achievements
- Many said they knew more about the “real” Mitt Romney post-convention
- Many expressed admiration and respect for Romney’s values, family life, character, service, and charitable works
- Supporters are newly energized
Not surprisingly, only Romney voters to be found today. An upbeat and positive political event nonetheless.
The line formation around 8:30.
The “back forty” of the parking lot.
View of downtown Cincinnati’s skyline.
Security checkpoint bottleneck.
The Romney campaign bus.
Onlookers in the rotunda wait for the rally to start.
Taking the stage.
Cincinnati Tea Party president, George Brunemann, and Ohio (28) candidate Mike Wilson, founder of CTP.
Congressman Steve Chabot speaks at the rally, while Alex Triantafilou looks on.
Josh Mandel during his remarks.
Sen. Rob Portman (left) and Speaker John Boehner (center).
Ann Romney addresses the crowd, while Mitt looks on.
Mitt Romney speaks to supporters.
Members of the media.