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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

MLK Day with Mitt Romney




JACKSONVILLE --Former Gov. Mitt Romney started this Martin Luther King Jr. Day giving a speech at Gate Petroleum, whose executive Herb Peyton, is a big Romney supporter. Romney's speech emphasized the military and he told a story about going to the Boston airport to see a soldier's casket come home.

"It's obvious that Mitt Romney is our kind of folks," Peyton told a roomful of about 50 employees, none of whom had the day off.

Florida Congressman Ander Crenshaw endorsed Romney at the event.

About 15 minutes later, the Romney bus hit the set-up line for the Martin Luther King Jr. parade, and Romney shook hands and took pictures with everyone he could, even though most were registered Democrats.

Dr. Diane McGPicture_005hee, an English teacher at Success Academy Christian School of Jacksonville, said she had never hugged a Republican presidential candidate before. But the Democrat didn't mind as she teaches her students the importance of presidential elections.

Others at the parade said they were confused, because they had heard a presidential candidate would be at the parade, but they didn't expect to see Gov. Romney.

"Where's Obama? I was hoping that Obama would be here," said Minnie Smith, a fan of Sen. Barack Obama and leader of a troop of cub scouts boys who shook hands with Romney.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:17pm]


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