Mitt Romney was in town today for a fund raiser and then a quick campaign stop just a few blocks down the street from the office. They didn’t ask me to come take pictures at the 10K/plate luncheon, so I figured I’d walk down to the River City Brewing Company with camera in hand and take a look. They had a pretty healthy security presence at the venue, which was to be expected. The Secret Service dudes are so recognizable… at least the ones they want you to recognize as such, so I walked up to an ear-piece and asked where I could position for a good shot of Romney coming in. Duh… stupid question. He gave me a look like, “you moron, you really think I’m going to tell you that?” Which, of course, he didn’t. I told him I was going to sit on the bench in front of the front door and he said, “OK.” Well, with ten minutes to go, I was still sitting there, which I figured was a dead giveaway that Romney wasn’t coming in that door!
They had a metal detector set up on the side of the property and were shuffling people in the back. The line dwindled to nothing with five minutes to go, so I decided to head on in. The Secret Service inspector looked at my camera with 400mm worth of glass and decided I needed a thorough checking. Hey, they don’t call them Canon’s for nothing. In I went, Canon and all… well, sans the umbrella, which joined about one hundred of its brethren on the ground at the inspector’s feet.
The speaking venue was on a covered deck, but outside, and threatening clouds were assembling to the west. I staked out a spot high and in the back which suited the long lens. And then, it started raining. Humph. I dressed my camera in its rain cover, but I just stood there and got wet. One of the bartenders was standing next to me and she went and got some seat covers and brought them back for her and I to throw over our heads. The media folks, who were assembled in their area just a few feet from our location had a good time taking embarrassing pictures of us with seat covers on our heads, dripping with water from the steady rain. I’m sure that’ll be on the news tonight. Ugh!
After a few minutes Romney arrived, as correctly surmised, not from the front door, but from the river side of the establishment. I don’t know if he came by boat from Epping or what. After a quick pep talk from Jennifer Carrol, Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, Romney took the stage. It was still raining, and he looked around at the folks standing in the few uncovered places and magnanimously motioned for them to join him on the stage to get under cover. Great public relations gesture, but I’m sure the Secret Service was having a cow! He looked directly to where my small cadre of about ten folks were standing in the rain and waved to us and said there wasn’t much he do for us. I didn’t care… I knew he’d looked directly at my lens and was furiously snapping away.
Check out the stare I’m getting from the Secret Service guy behind Romney. He’s wondering, “what’s that huge round barrel-looking-thing blinking at me at a rate of eight times a second?” Just your neighborhood photographer sir…
Mr. Romney was a consumate politician... working the crowd, looking for the media, Trying to say the right things. Fun photo-taking.
See more Mitt Romney photos here
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