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Overflowing support

"Overflowing support" Continued...

Jennings will volunteer at a polling place on Election Day. Her political engagement started after she became annoyed by the Democrats’ accusation that Republicans are fighting a war on women.

“I just didn’t get that,” Jennings said. “I felt like, I was a woman, and I didn’t see a war. I resented being lumped in that group. I kept saying, ‘I can’t be the only women in the country that feels that way.’”

Jennings searched online and joined a “Women for Romney” group on Facebook. The group has spent the fall encouraging one another and sharing statistics, studies, and articles that could be used to counter the argument that Republicans are against women.

“The best thing I think they can do for women is to create jobs,” she said. “I would like to think we are intelligent enough to make our own decisions regarding things like contraceptives. I’m a big enough girl. Liberal women don’t have the right to decide what all the women issues are.”

Even though the group hasn’t met in person, they’ve made plans to get together in Washington for the inauguration if Romney wins.

As the late afternoon sun set on this second day after the end of Daylight Saving Time, the temperature began to drop. Babies bundled in blankets cried. The event inside ended and the song “My Girl” blasted over the loudspeakers. The lyrics, “When its cold outside …” got a laugh from those outside.

But as thousands poured out of the arena, the overflow crowd outside, estimated by the fire marshal to be 3,000 people strong, remained. They began to congregate below a microphone that had been set up atop one of the arena’s concrete porches.

Soon Romney and his wife, Ann, appeared before the microphone. Some in the overflow crowd hoisted their children onto their shoulders to get a better glimpse of the Republican nominee.

The Romneys seemed buoyed by the crowd. As a suburb of Washington, Fairfax seems to be safe territory for Obama. But this crowd may suggest otherwise. Indeed embedded among the throng are voting demographics that pollsters say Romney will need to pull out a victory.

Those include Christians like Maurer and Hayes who must be energized even if they didn’t get their first choice candidate. And they include women like Jennings who is defying the liberal argument that women are under attack by social conservatives.

“This is so heartwarming, even on a chilly day,” Ann Romney told the overflow crowd. “I think we might be neighbors soon.”

The White House on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is just across the Potomac River.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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