Romney can’t draw a crowd: Just 1,250 turn out to hear him speak in stadium with 60,000 capacity

Posted: February 27, 2012 in US News, Washington Politics

Damien Gayle
Daily Mail
February 27, 2012

Mitt Romney has had a few awkward moments throughout the primary season. But few could match his speech to the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field yesterday.

The 65,000-seat home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions seemed like an odd choice of venue for an appearance in front of a crowd of just 1,250 people.

Mr Romney spoke from a podium on the 30-yard line of the football field in Detroit, Michigan, as the crowd, mostly men in suits, sat in chairs set up on the artificial turf.

The presidential hopeful has been turning his campaign message back to the economy as he tries to fend off rival Rick Santorum in crucial Michigan and Arizona primaries next week.

Mr Romney vowed to bring fundamental change to rebuild the U.S. economy with fiscally conservative policies, a message he hopes will help him make a comeback in the hard-hit state, where Mr Santorum is threatening to score an upset.

But the economic address became a lightning rod for Mr Romney’s odd ad libs.

In an attempt to counter his critics, Mr Romney emphasised his Michigan roots and love for the cars produced by the state’s auto industry.

The former private equity executive has taken some criticism in the state because he opposed an $81billion federal bailout credited with helping save the auto industry.

He pointed out that he drives a Ford Mustang and Chevrolet pickup truck, and that his wife, Ann ‘drives two Cadillacs, actually’ – a comment analysts said could alienate some blue-collar voters by reminding them of Mr Romney’s vast wealth.

Closing his speech, he said of Michigan: ‘You know, the trees are the right height, the streets are just right.’

The remark was met by puzzled murmurs in the otherwise silent stadium, the New York Daily News reported.

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