GREENVILLE, S.C. - In one of the liveliest rallies of his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney tonight spoke to a raucous crowd who could barely hold back their cheers of support as the candidate vied for votes in the final hours of primary day eve.
The rally, which packed at least 300 people into the room, came after a week of some less impressive events, including a rally in Florence, S.C., earlier this week when photographers captured a half-empty ballroom waiting for Romney's speech. But earlier today it seemed that the momentum, despite the shrinking gap in the polls between Romney and Gingrich, was picking up again for the former Massachusetts governor, when a crowd of a few hundred stood in the rain at a tree farm to attend an outdoor rally.
When the crowd broke into chants of "We need Mitt! We need Mitt! We need Mitt!" Romney responded frankly, "Do you know what? You're going to get me." That sent the crowd into further convulsions.
"I simply don't think that the people of America will choose a lifelong politician who have spent their entire career in Washington to replace the lifelong politician who spends his time in Washington," said Romney. "I think they have to have someone who has had experience in the private sector, who knows how the economy works, and who can bring that experience to post up to Barack Obama."
"A different background, different experiences, and can stand up to him and say, 'You know what? Your stimulus did not work, Mr. Obama. Your policies have hurt the enterprise of America, you made it harder for the economy to recover,' and I know because I've been in that economy. Your policies in regard to trade, energy, health care, taxation - they are wrong. I know they are wrong because I've been in the private sector and I know what impact they've had,'" said Romney, as the crowd roared, throwing "Romney for President" signs above their heads.
As Romney hit on some of his standard stump speech lines, one man in the crowd blurted out, "We love you!" to which Romney responded, "I like Ann to say that!"
Romney, himself surprised at the high-energy crowd who had filed into a catering hall in the pouring rain, told the crowd, "This is the best audience I've visited in a while!"