How enthusiastic are Republicans in Ohio?
On a frigid night, police say more than 18,000 people came out for a star-studded rally for Mitt Romney that featured 100 surrogates as well as a performance from Kid Rock.
It was an awesome visual. Those appearing with Romney and Ryan included former GOP rivals Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. They lined up in rows to Romney’s right in matching red or blue fleeces.
Organizers of tonight’s mega-event said the goal was to create the feeling of a week-long party convention in one night — complete with the the GOP’s rising stars and stalwarts, as well as a performance by Kid Rock.
The crowd loved it. Many waved small Ohio flags. Romney supporters wearing red, white and blue T-shirts positioned themselves behind Romney to create a human image of Ohio’s flag.
There’s no question that this was Romney’s biggest rally of the campaign — but just how many people turned out is unclear in this hard-fought state in which public polls show Romney narrowly trailing President Barack Obama. The campaign announced that 30,000 people attended, but Secret Service sources said just 15,000 went through metal detectors. And local law enforcement counted the crowd at 18,000.
From Cincinnati, the surrogates for Romney and Ryan will fan out to 11 swing states for events in the final three full days before voters cast their ballots. The program is called the “Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally.”
“That’s R-6 for short,” Romney joked at the start of his speech.
Romney-Ryan will be all over the swing state map today. Romney will be in NH, IA, and CO (other events may be added later today). Ryan will start the day in Ohio, move on to PA, then swing through VA and FL. And in something of a surprise, Ryan will be in Minnesota tomorrow. While the campaign has made a modest ad buy in the state, no visits by a principle were expected.
President Obama will start the day in Ohio, then travel to Wisconsin as part of his last ditch effort to save the state, then it’s on to Iowa and a finish to the day in VA.
Which campaign appears to be confident enough to reach into the other guy’s territory and try to steal a few EV’s? Ryan in PA today, Romney tomorrow. Ryan to MN. In these last precious hours before the voting begins, playing on your opponent’s turf usually denotes a winner.
Let’s hope that’s one piece of conventional wisdom that holds true.