TRAVELING WITH THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN IN FLORIDA – “Ten more days!” the crowds at the Florida Romney rallies chanted today, ready to count off the days until Barack Obama is defeated and President-elect Mitt Romney begins preparing for a new administration in the White House.
Romney spoke to three large overflow crowds, delivering a positive message of real economic recovery and jobs brought on by a renewed faith in the private enterprise system.
Marco Rubio attended the first two rallies of the day, at Pensacola and Kissimmee, speaking in Spanish to a large audience numbering approximately 5,000 people including many Hispanics, that overflowed onto the tarmac from an air hanger at the Ranger Jet Center at the Kissimmee airport.
After stepping off the stage at Kissimmee, Rubio was informed his daughter, 12, was being rushed to the hospital after being involved in a car accident.
On the way to the third and last rally of the day, the Romney caravan pulled off the road into a way station, approximately 10 miles east of Tampa, so Rubio could board a police cruiser to leave the campaign tour and rush to Miami to be with his family.
The Miami Herald reported Rubio’s daughter was in stable condition in Miami Children’s Hospital after being airlifted from the scene of the auto accident.
The Romney blitz of Florida rallies occurred as Politico reported a Tampa Bay Times survey of 120 of Florida’s top political advisors, 73 percent of whom expect Romney will win the Sunshine State, compared to only 27 percent who currently believe Obama will take the critical swing state a second time.
Earlier in the day, on the flight from Pensacola to Kissimmee, Rubio came to the back of the Romney campaign airplane to speak with reporters.
“The Hispanic population of Florida is very entrepreneurial, very much focused on upward mobility, not only doing better themselves, but leaving their children better off than they are,” Rubio told reporters. “That’s where our message of free enterprise and limited government is going to continue to do well as we move down the stretch of this campaign.”
Rubio said he was confident in the Republican ground game, and he believed Gov. Romney was “out-hustling” the other side.
“I’d rather be us than them,” Rubio said. “I don’t know a single person who voted the last time for John McCain who is going to vote for Barack Obama, but I know a lot of people that voted for Barack Obama who are now going to vote for Mitt Romney.”
He noted the economic downturn in Florida has been severe.
“Floridians know we can do better economically, that’s why they are excited about four years under Mitt Romney,” he said.
“We will out-perform 2008 in delivering the Hispanic vote to Mitt Romney. The Republican Party speaks to the same desire most Hispanics have – an obsession with leaving their kids better off than themselves. The free enterprise system is the best way to accomplish that goal. There is only one person running now who understands the free enterprise system and that is Mitt Romney.”
The press traveling with Romney threw questions at Rubio, not about the recent Romney surge in the Florida polls, but about why Romney was not more critical of tea party Senate candidate Richard Mourdock who said when a rape victim gets pregnant, God intended the pregnancy to be a gift.
“Gov. Romney has said he doesn’t agree with those statements and Mourdock himself apologized,” Rubio responded, unwilling to be drawn by reporters into a social-issues debate. “But ultimately the issues voters are thinking about on a daily basis are the issues of the economy, job creation, and how to move our country forward.”
At the Pensacola rally earlier in the day, Rubio hit hard on President Obama’s socialist agenda of government control over all aspects of the economy.
“People come to America to get away from these ideas,” he told the audience of over 10,000 people jammed into the arena at Pensacola Civic Center.
Over 1,000 people who lined up outside the arena to see Romney were turned away by fire marshals worried about an over-capacity crowd.
On this the first day of in-person voting in Florida, long lines of those waiting to cast their ballot are being reported across the state.
The Romney campaign ended its day with a third Florida rally in Land O’Lakes, outside Tampa. The same enthusiasm seen in Pensacola and Kissimmee marked the event held at a local football field, with some 10,000 people in attendance.
If the overflowing, cheering crowds are indicative of Romney’s momentum across the state, they point to a base of supporters very determined to go vote for the GOP nominee on Election Day.