TRAVELING WITH THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN – An exceptionally upbeat and confident Romney camp left the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., to hold two enthusiastic, overflow outdoor rallies in Virginia.
Romney left his hotel in Long Island at 9:30 a.m. Eastern yesterday accompanied by comedian Dennis Miller, who planned to join the Republican nominee at the Virginia rallies.
From all appearances, the Romney campaign – bolstered by a new Gallup poll putting the Republican nominee over the crucial 50-percent mark with just three weeks to go – is a smoothly run operation, with a corporate feel in which meetings and rallies are held on time, contingencies are taken into account and efficient staffers are responsive to media needs and requests.
In a 36-minute drive on the closed Northern State Parkway and the Long Island Expressway, the campaign’s motorcade was greeted by appreciative horn honks from cars heading the opposite direction.
Arriving in Virginia, Miller joined Romney in his SUV for the trip to the first rally.
At 1:15 p.m., Romney spoke at a Chesapeake Victory Rally, following a warm-up by country-music star Lee Greenwood, known for his patriotic anthem “God Bless the USA.”
See video of the Cheaspeake, Va., rally:
From there, the Romney campaign, along with Miller, traveled to Leesburg, Va., for a second rally, this time with Andy Griggs providing the opening country-music warm-up.
See video of the Leesburg, Va., rally:
According to Secret Service counts, 3,500 cheering Romney fans attended the Chesapeake rally, with some 8,000 standing in the cool evening air to see the candidate in-person in Leesburg.
“We’re going to win Virginia!” Romney told both audiences, to strong applause.
He adapted his stump speech to include highlights from the second debate that advanced his attacks on Obama.
“It’s interesting that with two presidential debates done, the president still hasn’t found an agenda for his second term,” Romney said. “We have an agenda for our term, and our agenda is going to get this country working again.”
Romney attacked Obama’s record over the last four years, asking both rallies why the president thought the next four years would be any different if he were re-elected.
“Obama seems to spend most of the time in the debates arguing why my plans won’t work. I wish he would spend a little more time explaining why his plans have not worked,” Romney chided Obama.
“We have one more weekend before the next debate, and I hope Obama will spend some time figuring out what he would do if he got another four years. But that’s not likely to happen, so I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Romney stressed that if elected, he would focus on creating jobs as the first priority.
“The president’s policies are running on fumes,” Romney said, charging the Obama administration with an energy policy that has resulted in higher energy prices, including higher prices for gasoline at the pump. “It’s time to get this country moving again.”
In both rallies, Romney hit hard Obama’s annual trillion-dollar deficits since taking office, with no prospect in sight for reducing continuing deficits.
He suggested Obama would have no choice but to increase taxes, including for the middle class, should Obama win a second term in office.
Polls show Romney taking a 52-45 lead over Obama, reversing gaps of 10 points or more in key swing states since the first debate. The dramatic shift indicates the Democratic Party strategy of having Vice President Joe Biden take a more argumentative approach in his debate against Republican challenger Paul Ryan did not help make up any ground.
Today, the Romney campaign traveled to New York City to prepare for the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Hotel.
Tomorrow, the campaign plans to travel to Florida, where the candidate will once again closet himself with top advisers to prepare for the third and final presidential debate Monday in Boca Raton.