DUNEDIN, Florida — "How many times have we heard this song already?" That's what a beat reporter who's been traveling with the Mitt Romney campaign said Monday afternoon (January 30) at the day's second campaign stop in Florida. With less than 24 hours to go before Tuesday's primary, Romney was about to take the stage to the strains of one of his signature warm-up songs, Toby Keith's "Made in America," and the press corps knew what was going to happen next with their notebooks closed.
"I'm gonna wake up in the middle of the night singing it," the reporter sighed as the crowd in Pioneer Park filed in on a picture-perfect winter day. But for the writers and camera people slogging it out on the trail, it was "Groundhog Day" all over again: new town, same routine.
While the patriotic country tune kept pumping, the crowd of several hundred suddenly turned around en masse as Romney's bus pulled up about 15 minutes late. It seems that like college parties, for presidential candidates, it's all about showing up just a bit late — and making a cool entrance.
Fittingly, Romney referred to the Obama administration as the "groundhog presidency," because, the former Massachusetts governor said, "He keeps saying the same thing, but nothing ever changes."
Romney talked about the trips he used to take with his family as a child — including a visit to Florida's Cypress Gardens — but you could feel the press tuning out as they waited for the obligatory recitation of the candidate's favorite lines from "America the Beautiful."
Following a loss in South Carolina last week, Romney was making his final appearances before Tuesday's crucial Florida vote and he seemed loose and spirited, perhaps thanks to the comfortable lead he opened up against rival Newt Gingrich in the polls as the primary approached.
He left the audience with a stark message about the man he wants to ensure is a one-term president. "He didn't cause the recession," Romney said of President Obama. "But he made it worse."
MTV is on the scene in Florida! Check back for up-to-the-minute coverage of the primaries and stick with PowerOf12.org throughout the 2012 presidential election season.