I shook the man's hand.Me, standing behind only two dads and their 7 and 9 and 13 year old young daughters, sharing the rail with them as he came down, slowly, as he shook the hands of about 500 other people, tonight, in Bucks County, PA, after he spoke and came down off the stage and walked almost the entire line of the wall of people in front of the stage, and then he shook the hands of those behind the stage, where there were more walls of people plus 3 bleachers-full behind them. And behind our wall of people in front of the stage, behind the news cameras 50-feet behind me, there were tens of thousands more people standing in the frigid cold on the cascading hills of the Shady Brook Farm.
I'm not one for gushing. I didn't gush over McCain. I didn't have the urge to attend any of his rallies 4 years ago.
But there is something about Mitt Romney. He's not just believable. He's real. He's likable. He's a faith-filled man. He's gotten huge overhauls and big jobs done in business and in government. I don't agree with all his stances, and he has flipped on some things even going back 4 years.
But everything I've read and every testimony I've watched on a video, and the fact that he stands with Catholics for religious freedom against Obama and his HHS mandate which clearly will still take away our freedom of religion no matter how ill-informed Joe Biden truly is, it all tells me that Mitt Romney is different than the career politicians (and yes, Obama is, by definition, a career politician). He isn't in this for himself.
And it shows. It shows in his face, in his shoulders, his stance, which should look haggard and exhausted after doing, what, four of these kinds of events in the same day, in four different, far-flung states, for about, what, the past 4 or 5 days? After he finished the Bucks County, PA rally, word was he was off to do his FOURTH of the day, in Virginia or Florida. He started the day in Iowa, then did this again in Ohio, then came to Pennsylvania, then was off south to do it again.
He brought down the house in all places, and looked like it was his first event of the day.
Pictures will be forthcoming tomorrow night, late. (I forgot my camera's thingamabob to link to the laptop). And I'm "borrowing" photos of Romney himself because, though I stood 30 feet away from him as he spoke and had a pretty straight view, I found it impossible to take a clear picture of the man. Too much cheering and flag-waving, too much movement, holding a digital camera aloft over flags and other cameras, plus being unsteady on my feet after standing for 7 hours straight, outside, in the cold (it got down to about 40 degrees and my face is windburned from the bracing wind all day).
Some PA residents I talked with as we waited all those hours, said that "As Bucks County goes, so goes Pennsylvania." Apparently, it's a long-standing truism.
So, how about it, PA? The estimate I heard was 35,000 people were in that field and on those bleachers tonight (that article above is wrong; even Romney himself told us in amazement, "The size of this crowd is incredible--you even beat OHIO!" meaning the 30,000 there. This article quotes 25,000. Breitbart has tweets and fantastic photos, saying what I heard when I first got in, that there were 30,000 tickets obtained online beforehand, but then huge long, steady lines of people kept streaming in from nearby parking lots and on busses from nearby lots also). In cold and biting wind, into the night. Standing 7 hours. 35,000 was the estimate I heard at the END of the rally. That's as many as the Red Rocks, Colorado turnout (though 25,000 of those had to be turned away as there just wasn't enough room).
The only disappointment was -- no Paul Ryan. I would have liked to hear him speak in person too. I've known for a while he was one to watch.
Too tired to finish...more tomorrow night...including one good shot of The Marshall Tucker Band. Yeah, The Marshall Tucker Band, and they weren't just a hired band for the event. Sounded as good as ever... MORE PHOTOS HERE