The EFM Feature

David and I had the honor of representing “Evangelicals for Mitt” at Williamson County’s Reagan Day Dinner Friday Night here in Tennessee. Since Gov. Romney was the keynote speaker, we filled the EFM table with some of the people who helped us promote the Governor in Memphis at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference–my sister Amy (who designed all the cool Romney gear), my sister Mary Kate (who handed out buttons), my parents (who babysat our kids), and friends Brant and Jennifer (who traveled from Nashville to cast their votes in the straw poll). Of course, Gov. Romney’s speech in Memphis was so compelling that he came in second in the SRLC straw poll, beating McCain, Allen, Huckabee, and Giuliani pretty handily. Tennessee’s own Bill Frist came in first, while Gov. Romney came in second.
So, Friday night, all 500 plus attendees were waiting anxiously to hear Sen. Frist introduce Gov. Romney at the Reagan Day Dinner. Everyone speculated about Frist’s wording–people here still believe Frist has a chance to at winning the Republican nomination for President in ’08 and thought he might not be too effusive over a potential opponent. On the other hand, an article in the Nashville City Paper speculated that if Gov. Romney was the nominee, he might choose Frist as his running mate. (Although, savvy readers of E4M know that if Gov. Romney was going to choose a Presbyterian from Tennessee, he’d choose a different one.)
Nevertheless, Frist said that he and Gov. Romney were “good friends” and even attempted levity about the possibility that they might be running against each other. He said that if he did a good job introducing Gov. Romney that perhaps he and Mrs. Romney might let Frist introduce him in Iowa and South Carolina. To be honest, it was a perplexing statement. Since David and I weren’t wearing our Romney hats, we blended into the Frist-friendly crowd and were able to pick up the mood of the room pretty well. Some people immediately read that statement as an admission that Sen. Frist wanted to be Gov. Romney’s running mate, some thought that it was a stab at Romney for his presidential ambitions, and some just scratched their heads. This morning, David and I finally got what he was trying to say–that Frist might as well introduce Gov. Romney since they’ll both be spending time in Iowa and South Carolina. (At least, that’s my best guess…)
At any rate, the room was very aware of the fact that Gov. Romney was the real thing. After his moving speech, I overheard someone say, “Williamson County has never, ever, had anyone like that here.”
On a personal note, David and I got to meet Mrs. Ann Romney, who’s more warm and friendly than you can imagine. My sister took one look at her and said, “She doesn’t look like a First Lady–she’s not quite matronly enough.” The consensus of my table–who was trying to get a good glimpse of her while she ate–was that she was so empirically beautiful that she might need to borrow some tips from the Platonic Form of First Lady Barbara Bush. Yes, there was something comforting about Barbara Bush’s blue dress, string of pearls, snowy hair, and fiery spirit , but I’m thinking America would embrace Mrs. Romney just as quickly. In fact, a recent Boston Globe article indicated that she might be Gov. Romney’s biggest political asset–her wit, intelligence, and composure seem to keep her husband balanced. At any rate, meeting her was an honor.
After Gov. Romney’s speech–which was about why America will continue to meet her challenges–the master of ceremonies summed up his appearance quite well. After the standing ovation ran its course, and the applause faded, he said, “Gov. Romney won many hearts in Memphis, and now he’s definitely won many hearts here in Williamson County.”

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