Rochester, N.H. — With the primary on Tuesday, Mitt Romney pulled out all the stops for a rally today, held shortly after he finished debating his GOP rivals.
Granite State GOP star Kelly Ayotte kicked off the event. “Unlike the current occupant of the White House, he actually knows how our economy works and how to create private-sector jobs,” Ayotte said. “And he will get Americans working again.” Next up was Tim Pawlenty, who got the crowd cheering and clapping as he thundered through a series of questions: “Are you ready to elect a president of the United States who doesn’t strangle the economy by . . . its economic throat? Had enough of President Obama appointing judges who don’t interpret the law as written, but make it up on the back of a napkin? Are you ready to do everything you can in this room and beyond to make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States?”
Ann Romney explained her husband’s decision to run by highlighting the Romney grandchildren up on stage, sitting by their parents. “That’s why a year ago, I told Mitt, ‘I’m sorry, sweetheart, you got to do this again,’” Ann Romney said, referencing the grandkids. She acknowledged she hadn’t seen this twist coming: “Four years ago, after the end of the last campaign, I said ‘I know one thing for certain: never going to do this again.’ Mitt laughed when he heard me say it. He said, ‘you said that after every pregnancy.’”
In Romney’s own speech, there were a couple of Mitt moments in the speech. Describing the opulent, old-fashioned Rochester Opera House the rally was held in, he said, “I had not seen this extraordinary place. It’s comfortable to be in.” Speaking about his current status as a candidate, Romney mused, “I never imagined I’d do it. This is just a very strange and unusual thing to be in the middle of. . . . I mean, I was just a high-school kid like everybody else with skinny legs.”
The “outsider” theme was one that Romney sounded at a different point in his remarks as well.
“There’s nothing wrong with spending your entire life in politics, but it’s kind of a bubble,” he said. “And outside that bubble is where I lived my first, I don’t know, 25, 30, 40 years in my career and I learned what it’s like to sign the front of a paycheck, not just the back of the paycheck, and to know how frightening it is to see whether you can make payroll at the end of the week.”
“I know what’s it’s like to worry whether you’re going to get fired,” he added. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”
Romney’s speech didn’t convince everyone. At the end of the speech, on one of the upper balconies that audience members had sat on, a man held up a sign that read “Mitt Romney Opportunistic Chameleon.”