Romney rallies supporters on farm in Morrisville, Pa.
At 6 p.m., an hour after the event was scheduled to start, supporters were still packing in under blue campaign signs that read, “Victory in Pennsylvania” and “Real Change on Day One.”
Overhead, three brightly-lit, massive American flags were suspended from cranes. A spokesperson from the Romney campaign said he could not estimate attendance but noted that over 30,000 people registered for the event.
Thousands of supporters braved the 41 degree windy night and bobbed their heads to Rodney Atkins’ “It’s America” as they waited for the candidate to arrive.
One supporter, a woman from Yardley, Pa., came to the rally with two of her three children.
“It’s their future,” she said. “We’re here to see the next President of the United States.”
While waiting, energized members of the crowd jumped up and down to stay warm, chanted and laughed. The rally is part of the campaign’s final push and an attempt to expand the electoral map to include Pennsylvania, which pollsters have considered a blue state. On Saturday, Romney’s running mate Rep. Paul Ryan appeared in central Pennsylvania before a crowd of about 2,000.
Real Clear Politics recently reclassified Pennsylvania as a “tossup” after some polling showed encouraging signs for Romney. Nevertheless, University molecular biology professor Sam Wang — who maintains a forecasting blog on the 2012 election — still considers Pennsylvania solid Obama territory.
But Romney supporters don’t agree. Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who represents the district that includes Morrisville, said in an interview that Pennsylvania is “absolutely” in play.
“Gov. Romney has the strong values, sense of the economy, background and experience that Pennsylvanians value,” he explained. “Pennsylvania recognizes the perfect blend of leadership and experience that Gov. Romney brings to the table.”
In his speech at the rally, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett echoed this message.
“Let me put it simply: Pennsylvania is in play,” he said. “We are gonna have a surprise victory here on Tuesday.”
In his opening remarks, Romney saiad he thinks so too.
“We’re taking back the White House because we’re gonna win Pennsylvania,” he said to roaring cheers from the crowd.
Before transitioning into his stump speech, Romney recognized the plight many still face in the region due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Our hearts go out to you,” Romney said, and encouraged individuals to give to relief organizations such as the Red Cross. He also praised New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his relief work, noting that he “is doing a fine job.”
Since he toured the ravaged Jersey Shore with President Barack Obama last week, Christie has drawn criticism from Republicans for what they viewed as over-the-top praise of Obama’s handling of relief efforts.
Romney touted two major themes — the economy and change — throughout his stump speech, which was geared toward mobilizing Pennsylvania voters. Rehashing his five-point economic plan, Romney accused Obama of simply blaming his predecessor and not truly prioritizing the economy.
“President Obama cared more about the liberal agenda than about the economy,” Romney added, saying that unemployment is higher now than when Obama first took office.
He promised change under his administration from what he characterized as the Obama economy. “Do you want four more years like the last four years, or do you want change?” Romney said. “Accomplishing real change is not just something I talk about, but something I will do as President of the United States.”
He ended on an energetic note, motivating supporters to get out the vote.
“Let’s get out and make sure every single person we know is voting on Tuesday,” he said. “I’d like you to reach across the street to your neighbor with the other guy’s yard sign.”
As Romney waved and the closing track played, red, white and blue fireworks shook the bleachers. On their way out, supporters were thrilled.
One supporter from Bucks County, Pa., had a huge grin on her face as she filed out of the rally.
“Oh my God,” she said. “Two more days.”