“Mitt Romney is trying to be a Southerner,” reports U.S.A. Today. In Mississippi last night, the ex-governor joked to an audience that “I am learning to say y’all, and I like grits and things.”
“He clearly was joking,” says Henry Barbour, the Republican national committeeman for Mississippi and a supporter of Romney. “If someone says ‘y’all’ or makes a joke about grits, we just laugh; that’s well received down here. Nobody has an issue with that.”
In jest, the committeeman warns Romney: “Now if you come down here and try to put sugar on grits like [Nelson] Rockefeller did, that might be a problem.” He’s referring to an infamous incident years ago when the vice president poured sugar on grits in front of the chairman of the Florida Republican party.
Today, Romney is campaigning in Mississippi and Alabama, where he recently told a local radio station that the South for him is “a bit of an away game.”
But Barbour speculates Romney might pull off a win in the Magnolia State: “I think he’s been well received in Mississippi, and while he’s the underdog, I think he’s got a shot at pulling off an upset.” Barbour calls Governor Phil Bryant’s endorsement “a shot in the arm” for Romney and notes, “[Bryant’s] got a strong organization that just helped elect him in November.”
The bottom line? “Southerners want to get rid of Obama, and that’s why I think Romney has a chance at pulling off a win on Tuesday.”