FAIRFAX, Va. — If President Obama wins re-election on Tuesday, retired Army Colonel Allen Wild knows exactly who blame: “the 47 percent.” Not the leaked video of Republican nominee Mitt Romney claiming that 47 percent of Americans will vote for Obama because they are dependent on government.
“The takers,” Wild explained to TPM at a Romney rally on the final day of the campaign Monday here at George Mason University. “Those who pay no income tax.”
Wild, like many other Romney supporters who turned out see the former governor, was optimistic that Romney will be the next president. The crowd, which filled George Mason’s Patriot Center while thousands more waited in a spill-over area outside, responded to Romney’s stump speech with thunderous applause.
Romney never veered from the closing argument he’s been making in swing states throughout the nation in recent days. He warned that another four years under Obama would be disastrous and could drive the nation into the financial rocks. He pitched himself as the candidate of real change.
“Tomorrow, we get to work rebuilding our country, restoring our confidence and renewing our conviction, our confidence that we’re on a solid path to steady improvement,” Romney said.
Romney started the day in Florida, and after Virginia was scheduled to go on to the battleground states of Ohio and New Hampshire. He will also reportedly head back to Ohio on Tuesday for the final stop of his campaign.
Like Wild, many hopeful supporters on Monday said they would pin an Obama victory on the millions of Americans who they say want to live off of the government.
“I think an awful lot of the country is becoming comfortable with the government taking care of them,” Rich Kelly, 59, said. “I think that’s a mistake.”
Kelly wore a blue polo shirt that read “Hard Times Cafe,” a local chain of 16 restaurants he owns with his wife. “There’s one thing I do very well, and that’s create jobs,” Kelly said. “In the last four years, I’m a bad guy.” According to Obama, he said, “I make too much money and I don’t share and I’m not, you know, I don’t play well with others.”
“I think Romney will win,” Kent Avery, 57, told TPM. A retired Navy engineer, Avery said he would blame Americans who don’t want to take care of themselves if Romney loses. “When people understand they can vote for politicians who can give them something from the public trough, they’ll keep doing that. That’s a great danger that we have enough people that have that mindset.”
Some rally attendees summed up this theory more succinctly. As Carlos Cerball, 72, said, “I’m not comfortable that he’s a socialist,” referring to Obama.
“I’m not a socialist,” Anna-Maria Kennedy, 48, said. A homemaker who grew up in Greece, Kennedy says Greece is “where America will be if we don’t change things quick.”
There were a few other theories about how Obama could overcome what they all saw as massive enthusiasm for Romney and an economy in desperate need of a turn-around. Liberal media bias was one. Voter fraud was another. But overwhelmingly, Romney’s supporters in Fairfax shared the same viewpoint Romney expressed at a closed-door fundraiser in May.
“We don’t understand this ‘fair share,’” Wild said. “But nearly 50 percent pay nothing. Isn’t there a fair share for people who have modest incomes?”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.