Mitt Romney’s campaign stopped into Sarasota on Thursday, where the former Massachusetts governor addressed the main points of his platform, with no mention of the recent video leaked to Mother Jones magazine that’s seemed to have put his campaign in jeopardy.
Romney held a rally at the Ringling Museum to an impressively large and supportive audience. The governor touched on his usual points, almost seeming to purposefully not mention his recently revealed remarks that 47% of Americans feel overly entitled. Instead the candidate discussed his economic plans all while lambasting President Obama for not holding up his promises.
“The President is waving the white flag of surrender again. He’s saying he can’t change Washington from the inside.” Romney said of some of Obama’s statement earlier in the day on Univision . “I can change Washington, I will change Washington, we’ll get the job done from the inside, Republicans and Democrats will come together. He can’t do it. His slogan was yes we can, his new slogan is no I can’t. It’s time for a new president.”
Florida is the state that can make or break a campaign gunning for the White House and it seems the Romney/Ryan ticket is very aware of this. The Romney rally came less than a week after Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan stopped in Oldsmar to garner support.
Mitt’s speech resembled much more of a polished running through of talking points than the more conversational tone of Ryan’s event last week. Nevertheless, the audience was just as sympathetic at both.
The crowd fit the expected demographic rather predictably, mainly consisting of older white supporters and families, and perhaps because of this the former governor focused strongly on Medicare and his opposition to the President’s plans for the program.
“I hope people here understand how bad news this thing is. He put in place something called Obamacare. There’s a couple of features of Obamacare I hope the people of Florida understand…he cut Medicare by 716 billion dollars, if I’m President of the United States I’m going to put that 716 billion dollars back into medicare."
The rest of the speech followed almost like a laundry list of the Romney/Ryan platform, accusing Barack Obama of seeking to redistribute wealth, listing off unemployment figures and the ever ubiquitous “we built that” theme.
While the Ringling Museum was most likely picked for the rally today due to it’s picturesque setting, it is interesting that the campaign chose a location just a block away from New College, one of if not the most liberal schools in Florida.
As to be expected, this brought out student demonstrators opposed to the candidate, waving flags calling for a higher minimum wage as well as more socially based subjects like gay marriage support and “Clits against Mitt”.
The governor seemed to laugh off the protesters at the beginning of the speech, saying he wish he could talk to them and finding the chants of “four more years” ironic.
“You want four more years where half of college students can’t get a job?!” Romney said in response while listing off more of the dire economic statistics that the Republicans feel are the current administrations fault.
Aside from the demonstrators outside the event, who were told to “get a job” and the like from those attending, some students managed to attend the event and attempted to make a stance during the speech. During the event they unfurled a Palestinian flag and chanted “People not profits” until being escorted out by security.
Josh Munoz, 18, was responsible for carrying in the flag. The Miami native said he was nervous at the response he would receive but was shocked at just how over-the-top the Romney supporters were.
“We started getting pushed around, man-handled, not by Secret Service but the people who were there. The attendees got very aggressive with us and I'm surprised that we didn’t get hit. They got in my face and (began) putting their fists up and (saying) I’ll break your nose (said) a man who was 70 years old…we were pushed around like we were in a washing machine.”
Munoz is a Cuban-American who stands in “solidarity” with Palestine and thinks his appearance may have been mistaken for being of Arab descent from the racial slurs directed his way. Munoz was dismayed by the level of racism.
“None of us are here are what people would think are quote-unquote 'sand n**gers' which is like Arabs and none of us are Arabs. They were looking at me because of my facial hair, I’m not Arab, I’m Cuban.” Munoz said “They were screaming 'Get out of our country you sand n**gers' and “Get a job”
The protest brought out the younger crowd in opposition to the conservative plans of the Romney/Ryan ticket, there were younger members at the rally in support of the ticket.
Stacie Noble, 19, of Sarasota was there in an American-flag superhero costume and felt that this election was absolutely necessary for the younger generation.
“The fact that most of my friends can’t get a job and they’re well-educated and that a lot of my friends are still living at home simply because they don’t want to take out loans to pay for their schooling.”
Noble feels that the president has let down the younger generation and that Romney offers a better solution. “(Romney offers) More hope than Obama could ever put into a barrel of monkeys. It’s more plausible, more logical, more realistic, more long-term.”
Originally a supporter of Ron Paul, Noble feels that Romney is the lesser of two evils, and feels that economically times are tough due to the current administration.
“When we were young we were promised a college education and when you graduated you could become somebody. That doesn’t happen anymore and it’s not going to happen, especially if Obama gets re-elected. Where all our money is going is to places it shouldn’t be.”