A Prudence Paine wire service photographer managed to score a coveted ticket to see the new Romney-Ryan ticket up close and personal as their enthusiastic tour swings through the North Carolina Piedmont area.
Here the unexpectedly huge crowd queues up early in High Point, a city that was once the pinnacle of American furniture craftsmanship and other manufacturing industries. Today, many of its long-heralded companies, factories and stores are closed. The economy is decimated. The people are struggling to survive.
This is a crowd hungry for economic leadership, for a revival in American manufacturing, for simple pride in America.
The media likes to claim that Romney and Ryan are just for rich people. Look at all the rich people that poured into town to hear him speak:
The Absolute Style Furniture factory showroom could only hold 500 people (according to unofficial information given to our reporter), but thousands arrived, wanting to check out the new guy on the ticket…
A small gaggle of protesters turned up as well.
But the crowd was all smiles for the High Point police. No pepper spray was even needed on the protesters!
Once the crowd gets indoors, and into an overflow room, they discover it’s not much cooler indoors. But, as our reporter reports, everyone is feeling very patriotic being there.
NOTE: More pictures are coming in. Live-photo blogging it here.
As the heat inside built, so did the anticipation of seeing the candidates. Even the Secret Service guys were smiling.
As the main room was filled to capacity and the overflow rooms were getting packed, the crowd kept streaming in. The invitations has noted that people could not bring liquids to the event. Unfortunately, that made everyone rather parched after waiting for several hours to get into an oven-hot room.
The crowd grew so large that the small building couldn’t hold them all in one location, so many are moved into the company’s showrooms where they can view the rally on television screens. Yet the crowd remains cheerful, and your PrudencePaine.com wire reporter reports that “Everyone is sweating like hell but happy laughing and don’t seem to care. Secret service guys are friendly!!!”
Our reporter reported that the crowd at the furniture factory rally was primarily middle-aged, about 35 years old and up mostly. LegalInsurrection readers report that many of the crowd were women. This couple was representing the younger set.
The crowd was filled with many people who are already Romney and Ryan fans, and convention hats are already coming out of the mothballs. Paul Ryan told a reporter that he had Nirvana on his iPod. This hat smells like campaign spirit.
When the Romney-Ryan campaign arrived at the Absolute Style Furniture factory, they came in two official tour buses, with a few other assorted buses for press and others.
It’s interesting that the buses have different emphases in their messaging. This must be the Populist bus: “The Romney Plan: For a Stronger Middle Class” and “More Jobs. More Take-Home Pay.”
And this must be the Patriotic bus: “Believe in America.”
Electricity runs through the crowd when the Secret Service escorts arrive to lead the candidates into the factory.
And then the candidates take time to pass by the crowds that haven’t made it inside. (Squint hard! They’re at the back of the police car in this shot.
And then they head inside, where they thrill the people in the two overflow rooms with a brief visit of three minutes or so before heading into the main room to start the rally.
Our reporter reports that by the time the rally began, the heat and dehydration had gotten to a few patriots, as word spread through the crowd that as many as four people had fainted. (Or perhaps they were simply overcome with tingling for a balanced budget.)
For that many people to turn out in the depressed town of High Point, North Carolina, on such short notice, shows that Mitt Romney has indeed injected his ticket with lots of hope for change. The right kind of change. Toward fiscal responsibility. Who knew such a thing would ever turn out a crowd like that?
The Daily Caller is reporting that over 10,000 people turned out for the High Point rally, with 1,200 gaining entry to the event, and an estimated additional 10,000 crowding along the street outside the building. The AP (typically no friend to Republican candidates) seems to back that up, albeit with different numbers of people in the various locations:
Thousands came to see the GOP ticket at a furniture company in High Point, N.C., on Sunday near Greensboro. About 1,500 waited — some more than five hours — in a cavernous warehouse with struggling air conditioning, while 2,000 packed into a cleared-out furniture showroom where the air was sticky and heavy. Thousands more stood behind barriers erected on the street outside — Romney and Ryan stopped on their way in to give high fives to a few in the cheering crowd.
The Greensboro News & Record put the crowd estimate even higher:
They drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 people in High Point, with only a limited number getting into the venue to hear the speeches.