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Romney Working The (Small) Crowd in S.C.

By Michael D. Shear
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Campaigning at the end of a long, frenetic day, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ended his rally here Tuesday night by telling the crowd how appreciative he was that they took the time to attend.

"I want to say hi to each of you, if I can," he said.

And that's the problem. He could.

In the 30,000-square-foot airplane hanger at the Myrtle Beach airport were about three dozen people, who listened politely and then crowded around to shake Romney's hand after he finished the 10-minute talk.

To be fair, it was 7:30 p.m. on a chilly South Carolina night in an unheated airplane hangar. So perhaps it's not surprising that there wasn't an overwhelming crowd. And Romney has been drawing somewhat bigger crowds in New Hampshire and Iowa, sometimes facing as many as 100 or 200 people.

On the other hand, there are just 15 days left until the voting begins in the election, and Romney is one of the leading contenders for president, not city council.

In fact, the Republican candidates have been drawing nowhere near the crowds of their Democratic rivals. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama regularly draw several hundred people at an event.

And Obama has had some fantastically large crowds -- driven in part by talk show queen Oprah Winfrey -- that Republicans can only dream about.

The crowd sizes point to the stark difference in enthusiasm in the two parties. Democrats are pumped up about their candidates and their hopes to take back the White House. Republicans, by contrast, are far less enthused by their choice or their chances to stay in power.

That's not Romney's fault. He's running for president in a year that can't be easy for any Republican. But he's suddenly in a serious fight for his political life in Iowa, and standing there, looking out at a few dozen people at a time, can't be encouraging.

By Washington Post editors  |  December 19, 2007; 10:13 AM ET
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Next: Still Undecided in Iowa's Three-Way Race


BTW, not to be posting twice but Ron Paul draws crowds in the THOUSANDS.

Posted by: lnardozi | December 22, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

He has $200 million and he's still too cheap to hire Americans - you can't really blame him. He thinks he's better than all of us so he doesn't need to spend his precious money. He never thought for a minute we'd find out, or that we'd care. He doesn't really have any thoughts or platform of his own - he's just a sock puppet who floats any way the wind blows. Don't get me wrong - he LOOKS fabulous! Really beautiful guy, got a great smile - and tall as all get out. My candidate just kinda looks like an old bantam rooster - that's funny 'cause it's so true. Dr. Ron Paul has been fighting the good fight for 20 years now in Congress. You all hear about him as Dr. No, but do you know he authors at least 10 pieces of legislation a year to REDUCE the federal government's power to those enumerated in the Constitution? Sometimes bills, but sometimes Constitutional Amendments too. He believes that if we need to do something that's not in the Constitution we should amend it to allow us to do so LEGALLY. You'll note this post WON'T be followed by one showing all his flip-flops... because there aren't any. I KNOW you've seen us all posting about him - why not take half an hour and see what the buzz is about at Or just look in the Federal Register?

Posted by: lnardozi | December 22, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Matt Damon,

You are so right on target with your first post! I've been thinking this exact thing for weeks now, and am glad to see I'm not the only one. Thanks for putting in all the specifics. Additionally I hadn't heard anything about Huckabee's family until I read this post, thanks for that. I know I for one, I'm anxious to see Jed and Jethro occupying the white house.

Posted by: JWood1 | December 20, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

So I guess we can conclude even if Romney had Oprah with him he would had at best 300 people instead of 30-40 because people hate Republicans.

Low crowd attendance could be the result of a lot of factors other than general disinterest. We didn't hear about any of those, only the writer's biased guess as to the reason. I say biased because that idea has been floating around for some time in the media and the writer seems to be echoing it rather than doing a little research as to why the crowd is small.

Posted by: madjayhawk | December 19, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"That's not Romney's fault. He's running for president in a year that can't be easy for any Republican."

I find Mr Shear's making excuses for Mr Romney a little inappropriate. Feeling a little attachment, are we? Is he really, really nice to you?

Posted by: zukermand | December 19, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

For those who missed my post yesterday, I'm trying to decide between two candidates: Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. It's really tough to decide. Both candidates have comparable educational backgrounds that qualify them to lead the United States (Huckabee's 2.5-year bachelor degree in religion from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia is roughly equivalent to Romney's cum laude law degree and Baker scholar MBA degree from Harvard, right?). Both candidates served as governors of states that face equally complex problems (Arkansas, with its population of 2.8 million and gross state product of $87 billion, is pretty much the same as Massachusetts, with its population of 6.4 million and gross state product of $318 billion, right?). Both candidates have pre-political experience that qualify them to be President (Huckabee was a pastor of several Southern Baptist churches in Arkadelphia, Texarkana, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas and served as president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention; no doubt equal to Romney's founding and taking of Bain Capital from a $37M fund to a $50B fund in 20 years and rescuing the 2002 Olympics). And both have wives and children that would make a great First Family (compare Huckabee family photo at with Romney family photo at ). So you can see why I am having such a difficult time making up my mind . . .

Posted by: Matt_Damon | December 19, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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