Morrisville, Pa. — With the presidential contest tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mitt Romney presented his closing pitch to some 25,000 screaming supporters in this beautiful, historic suburb north of Philadelphia.
“The question of this election comes down to this: Do you want four more years like the last four years, or do you want real change?” Romney asked last night. “President Obama promised change. But he couldn’t deliver it.”
“Send him home!” the crowd chanted. “Send him home! Send him home!”
Participants had lined up earlier along the perimeter of Shady Brook Farm, the rally venue, before traversing an airport-style security checkpoint. The process took about an hour on a chilly afternoon.
At dusk, guests faced an increasingly gray sky, 42-degree temperatures, and a 33-degree wind chill. Nonetheless, the audience steadily grew to fill bleachers and the area behind the stage and in front of it, and eventually expanded past the press viewing stand and into the open field beyond. This detail would be difficult even for the mainstream media to miss.
After waiting patiently, these folks watched Romney’s motorcade approach along Stony Hill Road. As its police escort’s light displays flashed in blue and red, the Romney-Ryan bus pulled up just beside the stage. “More jobs, more take-home pay,” read the promise emblazoned along the side of the motor coach. To the accompaniment of “Gonna Fly Now” — the theme to a movie about a certain winner from Philadelphia named Rocky — Romney stepped off the bus and waved to the electrified crowd.
Romney took the podium and soon expressed sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the Keystone State and its neighbors. He urged people across America to donate to the Red Cross and other relief agencies.
\Romney then discussed economic growth, prosperity, and brighter days ahead.
“For the first time in four years,” Romney said, “every entrepreneur, every small business person, every job creator will know that the president and the government of the United States like them and love the jobs and higher wages they create for the American people. Paul Ryan and I are going to limit government, instead of limiting the dreams of our fellow Americans.”
As two huge American flags snapped sharply in the wind, the audience waved smaller flags and moved briskly back and forth to try to stay warm.
“The president was right the other day when he said he can’t change Washington from the inside, only from the outside,” Romney noted. “We are going to give him that chance soon.”
“Two more days!” the audience chanted. “Two more days! Two more days!”
Romney said he would approve the Keystone Pipeline and added, “if the president were to be reelected, of course, he would continue his war on coal and oil and natural gas. When I’m elected, we’re going to change course on energy. We’re going to build jobs. And to help with prices at the pump, we’re going to achieve North American energy independence in eight years.”
This specific message should resonate with voters here and in Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia, all of which produce coal. According to the Energy Information Administration, 175 coal-fired electricity generators will be shuttered between now and 2016, largely due to federal regulations.
“The coal-fired capacity expected to be retired over the next five years is more than four times greater than retirements performed during the preceding five-year period,” the EIA concluded last July.
Obama’s War on Coal fulfills the vision that he described to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008: “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Romney earned some of his strongest applause and loudest cheers when he mentioned Obama’s observation that “voting is the best revenge.”
“President Obama asked his supporters to vote for revenge. For revenge,” Romney said, astonished. “Instead, I ask the people to vote for love of country.”
The facts that Romney stumped in Bucks County, Paul Ryan spoke Saturday in Harrisburg, and both GOP candidates were embraced by huge, adoring throngs all confirm that the Keystone State and its 20 electoral votes are very much in play.
“We are very close to where Washington crossed the Delaware, which led to a surprise victory,” observed Governor Tom Corbett (R., Pa.). “Pennsylvania will deliver a surprise victory on Tuesday.”
Senator Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) cited “the words of the great 20th-century statesman Winston Churchill, who said about all of us, ‘You always can count on the Americans to get it right — after they have exhausted every other possible option.’ We have spent the last four years exhausting the other options. On Tuesday, we’re gonna get it right!”
“Mr. President, you had your chance,” said former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge. “You had four years. Now it’s time to go!”
“Send him home!” the massive crowd roared back. “Send him home! Send him home!”
Southern rock legends the Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) played this event, as the Oak Ridge Boys, Kid Rock, Sam and Dave’s Sam Moore, and other Musicians for Mitt are doing elsewhere on the campaign trail. With its roots in South Carolina, MTB’s first-rate keyboards, rock-and-roll flute, and mellifluous electric guitar served lead singer Doug Gray very well on the opening tune “Ain’t the first time this cowboy spends a night alone.”
“When we started in 1973, we just wanted to earn beer money,” said Gray, an MTB founding member. “But I have to tell you,” he continued in an accent rarely heard here in Yankee country, “the last four years have been rough for us and all the young guys trying to start bands. They can’t do it because of all the taxes and regulations.”
As the audience sang along, MTB closed with their hit “Can’t You See?” – recently honored as the “Greatest Southern Rock Song Ever Recorded” –but with bespoke lyrics for this occasion:
Can’t you see?
Can’t you see?
Been doin’ to me?
The last word at this affair naturally went to the man running for president of the United States.
“We need one final push,” Mitt Romney said. “The door to a brighter future is there. It’s open. It’s waiting for us. I need your vote. I need your work. I want you to walk with me. Let’s walk together. We’re taking back America. We’re going to keep America the hope of the Earth, with your help, Pennsylvania. Thank you so very much!”
And then, suddenly, the sky exploded with fireworks.