Politics & Government

Mitt Romney campaigns in Tampa; Joe Biden in Sarasota

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney kicked off the final week of his campaign with a stop in Tampa, calling on the nation to take "a different course" and elect him Nov. 6.

The former Massachusetts governor appear at Landmark Aviation, near Tampa International Airport. He was slated to go on to other parts of the state later in the day.

And this morning, Vice President Joe Biden is set to speak at a rally at Sarasota's Municipal Auditorium.

Also scheduled to speak in Tampa are Senate nominee Rep. Connie Mack IV, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Hundreds were lined up in perfect weather to hear Romney speak.

Among them was Ron Griffith, 71, president of the Heritage Springs Republican Club. He came with female members who spelled "R-O-M-N-E-Y" out on their red-and-white shirts.

"We've been waiting for this for four years," said Griffith. "If he doesn't win, we'll move to Canada."

"We want a leader," he continued. "Obama has been doing nothing but campaigning for four years."

Also in the crowd was Robert Rezabek, 16, a junior at Seminole High School, near Tampa.

He said he comes from a very conservative family, and had seen Romney plenty on television, but he wanted to see him in person.

Wednesday's event was his first political rally, he said.

Asked how his classmates feel about the election, Rezabek said a few care, but most don't.

They assume things about him because of his political views that aren't true: That he's rich, that he doesn't care about the poor, he said.

"They really stereotype us," he said. He favored Romney because his "morals match up with ours."

Rezabek cited as an example that President Barack Obama wants Catholic hospitals to perform procedures that are against their morals, "taking away their religious freedom."

Also in the crowd was Lynn Kus, 38, of Tampa, a grocery store assistant manager, who was at the rally with her 1-year-old son.

"I believe it's time for a change, time for everybody to be prosperous again," she said.

"We need to get out of this hole this president (Obama) has dug for us."

She said Romney leads by example and has the business sense and management skills needed now.

"Obama has no experience," she added. "He's basking in the limelight like a celebrity."

In Sarasota, hundreds of people wrapped lines around Sarasota's Municipal Auditorium Wednesday morning to hear Biden speak and rally supporters to re-elect President Barack Obama. Doors opened at 9 a.m. and Biden is set to speak at 11:30 a.m.

"It's important that we get to save the country from Romney," said Gerald Truehart, 73, of Lakewood Ranch. "He's a habitual liar."

Truehart, like many others in line, said he had already voted early.

As Satya Winkleman, of Sarasota, waited in line to get into the auditorium, she said she has worked as a psychotherapist for more than 35 years and could not understand why women would vote for Romney instead of re-electing Obama.

"I'm independent, but I'm for women's rights," Winkleman said.

A woman who votes for Romney "must want to put us back in the caves," she said.

Winkleman said she also fear Romney's administration would cut funding to Planned Parenthood and PBS.

"They are so important and they are going to destroy that," Winkleman said. "How dare they?"

As supporters continued waiting in line, volunteers went around asking them, "Have you voted?"

By 11 a.m. the auditorium was almost packed, with people still filing in.