COMMERCE — With the way the crowds packed into Long Family Orchard Friday, you may have thought that there was a run on its signature sweet corn crop.
The Mitt Romney presidential campaign received a hearty helping of home cooking in Commerce, with a crowd of 9,300 in support during his first trip back to Michigan since selecting as his running mate.
A three-hour event at Long Family Orchard in Commerce was "rocking and rolling" from the moment doors opened at 9:30 a.m., with sunny skies and high temperatures accompanying families rocking out to live music and plenty of conservative voices to be heard.
Led by emcee and state Attorney General Bill Schuette, speakers including Oakland County Commissioner Christine Long, who hosted the event with husband Rob; Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; and U.S. Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra gave President Barack Obama an earful in one of the Nov. 6 election's battleground states.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard repeatedly reminded the crowd: "You built it!" The remark foreshadowed Day 2 of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, scheduled to begin Aug. 28, which is using a theme, "We Built It," according to USA Today.
That slogan is based on a controversial remark Obama made in mid-July, concerning the role of government in small business ownership.
Those Patch spoke with on Friday seemed more "pro-Romney" as opposed to "anti-Obama," riding a wave of positivity after the event which organizers said was only expected to host 3,000. Republicans representing Livingston, Washtenaw, Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties spoke highly of Romney/Ryan ticket above all.
"I was a backer of Romney in '08 and I'm a backer of him now," said Mark Thompson of Grosse Pointe Park. "Now that Paul Ryan's on the ticket, I'm just so pumped up about the election. I feel like we really can make a positive change this year and I think we will."
Ryan also earned Novi resident Patricia Simpson's affection after referencing his affinity for deer hunting and his Catholic faith in a speech deriding Obama.
"You listen to him talk and you know that this is the guy who can get something done. I feel like I can relate to him. You listen to Obama and you hear a bunch of platitudes," Simpson said.
Ryan remarked, "Remember about four years ago when he was talking to a bunch of donors from San Francisco and he said people from states like ours like to cling to our guns and our religion? I just have one thing to say: this Catholic deer hunter is guilty as charged and proud of it."
David Caruso, a grocery store owner from Warren, empathized with Romney as a business owner: "I'm not sure, has (Obama) ever held a job outside of the public sector? He's been nothing but a part of the machine since he was elected (in 2008). We need someone who can get the economy moving again."
Debbie and Dave Dobson are grandparents from White Lake who said they believed the ticket to the best choice to benefit future generations.
"He covered all the bases. It was exciting for the hope he brings — the real hope, that my grandchildren, who I adore, have the opportunity that I had growing up," Dave Dobson said.
His wife, Debbie, added, "We feel like we just saw the First Lady, Ann Romney, and the President of the United States, Mitt Romney."