Romney Stops in Georgia, Serves Up Pancakes
On the Sunday before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney stopped at a Snellville, Ga., high school for a bit of campaigning and breakfast.
It's not every day that a presidential candidate stops by a Snellville, Ga., high school, and serves pancakes while he's there.
But, that was Mitt Romney on the Sunday before a critically important Super Tuesday, when 76 Georgia delegates will be up for grabs.
In a last-minute effort to secure a win, Romney's campaign announced Saturday that they were hosting a pancake brunch at Brookwood High School the following day. One campaign volunteer said about 1,500 people signed up.
However, closer to 2,000 people showed up, according to the fire marshal, and some 500 people were forced to stand outside in the cold. No pancakes for them, but speakers were set up so they could hear what was going on inside.
Romney, along with his wife, Ann, and other political supporters such as Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, spoke before a highly energetic crowd. At times, supporters chanted, "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!"
"It's been such a thrill for us to go across the country," Romney said as he began his speech on Sunday. "I didn't imagine I'd be doing what I'm doing. This was not what we expected in our life."
Still, Romney said that opportunities afforded him the chance to steer the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah; to become governor of Massachusettes that same year, and now the chance to run for president.
"I'm concerned about the country, and one thing I know: We've got to get Barack Obama out of the White House," he said.
A year or so ago, when the Romneys were deciding whether to jump into the race, Ann Romney said it did take a little convincing on her part when her husband wasn't so sure.
"I just said, 'Talk to the hand. I'm not going to hear it. I'm not going to hear it,'" she recalled, "'because, guess what? You're the one that knows how to fix it. You're the only one that can fix, it, and you have no option. You're going to run.'"
Supporters in Gwinnett County seemed to agree. Young and old alike, some of them racing directly over from church, came to hear Romney.
Jeannie Posner, 49, was one of the lucky ones to secure a spot right up in front. The Sandy Springs bridal store owner came with her son, Nathan, to support their favorite candidate.
"As a business owner and as someone who has a child who's looking for the future of the country, I'm looking for Mitt to make the changes we need," she said. "We need to put Americans back to work, and that's what it's all about. And, I think Mitt truly understands that it is about the economy.
"And, yes, we are going to have to come up with some way of making health care affordable, 'cause as a business owner, it's not. But, mandating what they've done with Obamacare is not the answer."
For Claudia Liliana Escamilla, 44, Romney represents iron-clad work ethic and solid family values -- things she remembers from home in El Salvador. Super Tuesday will be the first time she is able to vote in America, and so far, Romney has her vote.
"It's exciting," said the Lawrenceville resident, who came with her husband and daughter. "I like him."
Her husband, Efrain, said Romney is the confident leader that America needs. His plan for the country -- which includes reducing taxes and government spending while increasing trade and energy production -- is a "much better" program for getting out of America's problems, he said.
"I consider it a steadier hand," he said. "A hand that's not going to necessarily rock the boat, but will affect change. Right now, there are things that are tenuous, and too much radical change is just as much of a problem as no change at all, in my mind."
In addition, Romney has a business background that resonates with his own. Over the years, the Escamillas said their family has had to work hard to make the American dream a reality.
"We are disconnected," Escamilla added."Our politicians no longer understand really the plights of everybody here. They're isolated. They live in this cocoon in Washington, and they don't really understand what it takes for someone like me to succeed, and what other people go through."
Just like the Escamillas, Suwanee residents Michelle and Mark Baumgart brought their three children to Romney's pancake party. Michelle home-schools her children, and coming to Romney's Georgia stop turned out to be the perfect social studies lesson.
They all left feeling enthused.
Her son, Preston, 11, even got to shake Romney's hand and received an autograph on his campaign poster. He likes Romney for president and Ron Paul for vice president.
A plate full of pancakes, his brother, 13-year-old Carter chimed in and said, quite simply, "He seems like a respectable guy."