Romney wows 7,000+ strong Asheville crowd, gets the support of Rev. Billy Graham

Posted by: ST on October 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Just a little bit ago, I got done livetweeting the Romney / Ryan rally held earlier this evening in Asheville, NC (also known as Liberalville, NC to yours truly).  Media reports had indoors being over 7,000 and there was jumbotron outside for the overflow crowd (I don’t know the numbers but I did see pictures of people standing outside to watch it).

Romney hit on some good themes, hammered the administration’s response and blame game tactics on the Benghazi terrorist attack, promoted states rights and his economic plan, once again pledged to repeal ObamaCare and joked about how he enjoyed last week’s debate very much. :)

My only objection to the rally was when Speaker Boehner spoke and announced he was wearing “Carolina blue” for the Tarheel state. Grrr. ;)

Not only was the rally a success, if the attendance numbers and crowd reaction were any indication, but Romney got a big boost today from visiting the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Rev. Franklin Graham at the elder Graham’s home in nearby Montreat:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Mitt Romney asked the Rev. Billy Graham for his prayers Thursday and the ailing evangelist came through by praying with the Republican presidential candidate and offering his support.

The 30-minute meeting between the world-renowned Christian leader and Romney could provide the former governor with a major boost among evangelical Christians skeptical of supporting the first Mormon nominated for president.

Graham, 93, and Romney prayed at the end of their previously unannounced meeting held at Graham’s estate in Montreat, which is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains 18 miles east of Asheville. Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, joined the meeting. It was the first time that Romney had met the elder Graham, but he first met Franklin Graham in 2006.

[…]

During Thursday’s meeting, campaign aides said that Graham told Romney that he considered his father, George Romney, a friend. He also recalled that he held his first crusade in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1947 — the same year that the former governor was born.

The meeting was closed to reporters, but photographers and television producers were permitted to record its final moments. As they entered, Romney appeared to be discussing the death of his father, George Romney.

[…]

Graham then asked Romney what he could do to help.

“Prayer is the most helpful thing you can do for me,” Romney said. “And what you’re planning, what your son has shown me is going to be very very helpful. And I appreciate that. Its going to be terrific.”

Graham, Franklin Graham and Romney then prayed and as the meeting ended, campaign aides said that Graham told Romney: “I’ll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that.”

Amen to that, Rev. Graham!  A photo from their meeting:

Romney and the Grahams

Mitt Romney meets with the Rev. Billy Graham and son Franklin Graham at the Graham home in Montreat, N.C. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

I’m starting to get a good feeling about Romney and NC – not making any predictions, but I feel the tide is turning …

As always, stay tuned!

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4 Responses to “Romney wows 7,000+ strong Asheville crowd, gets the support of Rev. Billy Graham”

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  1. Phineas says:

    Romney also got far larger crowds than expected in western Ohio: http://goo.gl/dFYfq . Promising. :)

  2. The Christianity issue regarding Romney’s Mormon religion should have never been raised as an issue. That was dealt with and cleared up in 1960 when Catholic John F. Kennedy was elected. It is interesting to note Romney visited Dr. Graham while Obhammud refused to given several opportunities including the DNC. But what else would you expect from a devout Muslim?

  3. jeff says:

    We were among those who didn’t get into the big hall. The Asheville Civic Center was woefully unprepared for the volume of folks, not just the crowd, but also the parking. Matter of fact, it took over an hour to get OUT of the parking deck (way down at College St.), with the big turbo-diesel showing well below the EMPTY line.

    Getting in meant going through metal detectors (good idea) manned by TSA personnel (not so much). There was too little direction outside, and at 5:30 most of the 2,000 of us still outside were losing any expectations of getting in. A few left. But then the line, which was 400 people wide, started sort-of moving.

    When we got in and found our way to some seats in a theatre (5,000 seats?), Gov. Romney was already speaking in the other hall, and we were getting the feed onto the screen in “our” theatre. He was already about half (guessing) through his speech, and our spillover crowd was applauding enthusiastically as if he could hear us. Our theatre was about 2/3 – 3/4 full, and I said, “I bet he comes in here after.”

    Sure enough, after his first speech, someone came out to announce that Gov. Romney would like to have a visit with us. While NC’s favorite candidate shook some hands in the Big Room, Sen. Portman and Gov. Huckabee prepped the crowd. Huckabee joked about passing the offering plate, since there were so many Baptists in the crowd, and everyone laughed…but everyone also instinctively thought about reaching in their pockets.

    I leaned over and asked Freckles what she’d do if Gov. Romney came in behind us (in the balcony section directly opposite the stage). She said, “I’m so excited I’d just cry!”

    Gov. Huckabee was telling us how much better our setting was and thanking us for sticking around, when the last of his words were lost in the explosion of applause as Gov. Romney walked onstage.

    He gave us about 5 minutes, which I (and almost eveyone else) got on video. I haven’t reviewed it yet, but expect to upload and post it later today, if it isn’t too shaky.

    In spite of the obstacles and difficulty, it was a great event for us. And, we think, a great event for North Carolina & America.

    -Jeff