Tonight, Mitt Romney came to the campus to speak to a gigantic crowd in the Russel House student union. When I arrived 45 minutes before he was even scheduled to arrive, a crowd of students and adults were already lining up at the doors . In the ballroom were he spoke, there were a few chairs set up for those who might have problems standing but for the rest of us, it was standing room only. By 7:30, the room was packed with everyone jostling to try to get a good view of the stage. I suspect, however, that the size of tonight’s crowd might have been affected by the results from the Michigan primary.
Before Romney arrived, which was roughly 2o minutes after he was scheduled, some of what I think were campaign managers tried to get the crowd going by doing a variation of the “Gamecocks” cheer (For all of you who are unfamiliar with USC, the Gamecock is our mascot and what it is is a fighting rooster). This is where half of the room yells “GAME” followed by the other half yelling “COCKS.” In this new variation, however, one side would yell “MITT” and the other would follow with “ROCKS” but it never really pick up even after multiple tries.
When Romney finally arrived, the crowd started cheering and waving their Mitt Romney signs like you would expect them to do. Be that as it were, if you looked closely around the crowd, you could see many stoic faces interspersed between those who were wholeheartedly Romney supporters. Senator Jim DeMint, one of Romney’s local supporters, introduced Mitt Romney and warmed up the crowd nicely. DeMint started by stating how the democrats may want change, but the change they want includes increasing the size of government. That got the crowd booing. He concluded by saying how he stood up against the amnesty bill over the summer and that he believed Romney would be the best choice to solve our problem with illegal immigration. To see the whole introduction DeMint gave, you can view it here on YouTube.com.
When Romney got up to speak, he talked about how Washington was broke and that we needed politicians that would stand up and fix it. He referred to a “need-to-do” list posted beside the stage that included items from lowering taxes to strengthening the family. I have a theory, however, that the list might have been there just so Mitt could glance over in the middle of his speech just in case he got lost. He also talked about the economy a lot and how he helped fund the guy who started the office supply store “Staples.” In the middle of his speech, he made a statement about how much he supports George Bush which I took as a slight jab at Mike Huckabee’s “bunker mentality” remark.
At one point in his speech, Romney asked the audience if we knew what made us the strongest nation in the world. Before he could answer this rhetorical question, a woman yelled out “in God we trust” to which Romney responded is one of the things that makes us strong. He continued by saying that a majority of people in this country believe in a higher being and that we as a country believe in “big things.” I am skeptical, though, that Romney would have even brought up God if someone hadn’t yelled that out. Anyways, If you want to watch Romney’s whole speech, I have it broken up into three parts (YouTube doesn’t like videos over that are over ten minutes):
Mitt Romney’s Introduction
First Half of Romney’s Speech
Second Half of Romney’s Speech
In between Romney’s introduction and his speech, his son said a few words that really didn’t add or subtract anything from the night. Since it wasn’t that important in the whole grand scheme of things I decided not to upload it to YouTube, but if you were wondering, that is what the gap between the Mitt’s intro and his first half consists of.
After his speech was over, Romney starting pumping the flesh and the reporters, that had been kept at bay until this time, swarmed him.
Thank goodness one of Romney’s campaign managers restricted them to standing on the stage so Romney could walk around without having a protected bubble like what happened at the Lizard’s Thicket when Huckabee came back in December.
When I decided to leave, I happened to run into three older gentlemen who were protesting Mitt Romney’s visit to South Carolina. They had signs that said something to the affect of “Go Home Yankee” and other such things. However, they were nice fellows who did allow me to take their pictures. I would have stayed and asked them a few questions but it was really cold outside and I wanted to get back to my nice cozy dorm room.
No sooner had I gotten back to my dorm then it started to snow, the first of the season in fact. Hmmm… maybe the protesters are right. If we want to keep the south nice and warm, we gotten keep that Romney out. He seems to have brought the northern snows with him. Huckabee anyone?