Sunday was a great day for New York Giants. For me, not so much—I’m a Pats fan, and I was there to watch the debacle unfold. I still wake up screaming.
So my trip to the Super Bowl didn’t work out so well. But I did take some time out from tailgating to do some actual work: I had a very interesting chat with some passionate Mitt Romney supporters. They weren’t hard to find. In the endless expanse of parking lots that surrounds University of Phoenix stadium, they were the only ones without sports paraphernalia. Their enormous “Mitt Romney for President” signs also made them stick out.
Rachael Proctor was among the Romney faithful spreading Mitt’s message around Glendale Sunday afternoon. Longtime Arizona residents all, Rachael and her crew said they were supporting Romney because “true conservatives” and “true Republicans” disliked McCain.
Proctor and her fellow Mitt-ens did have something to say about the issues. They said the economy and illegal immigration were both incredibly important to them, and they trusted Romney more on both. “McCain’s been here [in Arizona] 25 years, and [illegal immigration] has only gotten worse,” Proctor said. But their main message was the same one that Romney himself has been spouting since the South Carolina primary: Mitt Romney is a true conservative, and John McCain isn’t.
Despite the signs and the earnestness, Super Bowl fans weren’t having it. I saw Rachael’s group one more time after our chat in the parking lot. They were standing by the entrance to the stadium, holding their signs and shouting (politely) about Romney’s conservatism. Thousands of fans just walked right by, ignoring them. It was the Super Bowl, after all. But if Mitt’s going to have any sort of chance against John McCain, that “true conservative” message is going to have to start resonating.