a turning point for america

Mitt Romney Delivers Big Speech About Nothing To Empty Stadium

Who the fuck came up with this? title=Mitt Romney was back in his home state of Michigan, where he lived 50 years ago, to deliver a hotly anticipated speech on his latest, most deeply considered plan to toss the American people another $3-$5 trillion in tax cuts while offsetting the cost by ???ing tax expenditures. The speech, hosted by the Detroit Economic Club, was held in that most ambitious of Michigan venues, Ford Field, the only structure capable of holding the tens of thousands of people who weren’t there.

What powerful optics for Mitt Romney today, giving his speech to the only 1,200 people with a positive net worth in the Detroit metropolitan area, in a football stadium that spectators will fill to the brim when watching the Lions go 0-16 but won’t come near when Mitt Romney books it to unveil his latest mega-pander.

But let’s not just focus on the hilarious empty stadium. Did he go out of his way to grow the awkwardness at an exponential pace, The Hill?

“I not only think I have the best chance, I think I have the only chance — maybe I’m overstating it a bit,” he said, chuckling awkwardly.

“That’s my family leading the applause,” he said quickly, although no one was clapping, then laughed again. No one appeared to laugh with him.

Jesus Christ. What could be worse? Maybe a paragraph combining… the most oft-mocked lines of his over the last couple of weeks but which still somehow remain in his stump speech with… an unnecessary anecdote about his half-dozen or so cars that only highlights his outrageous wealth with… an overall aura of very forced pandering that suggests everything he’s saying is a lie? Buzzfeed?

I actually love this state. This feels good being back in Michigan. You know, the trees are the right height, the streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars i see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered.

This is too much fun, sorry! We’re doing one more! Richard Adams at The Guardian, type!

Mitt Romney just claimed he could smell lunch “wafting into this room” – room being a very odd way to describe a massive 80,000-seat football stadium.

The real winner of the day/year, though, was CSPAN’s camera crew, who cut away from Romney for this slow pan of the emptiness surrounding him.

And so we laugh, at Mitt Romney. Because at least John McCain’s incoherent speech before a lime green backdrop was held in an appropriate-size venue.

[The Hill, Buzzfeed, The Guardian, image via Byron York]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell
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217 comments

    1. actor212

      It must be tough to be Mitt Romney, native son of Michigan, opposition party candidate in an election when the economy was tanking and the President was flummoxed by the opposition in trying to effect an agenda, only to realize that Wrestlemania could outdraw him on shorter notice.

    2. coolhandnuke

      Empty suits in an empty stadium in a city emptied by corporate vultures and recession. Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" has to be Williard's theme song.

      1. Chichikovovich

        Naw, I'm thinking he should stick to the Michigan theme with a band from Ann Arbor.

        Iggy and the Stooges: "I Want to be Your Dog"

    3. Biel_ze_Bubba

      I'm sure the 1%-ers felt literally at home in an overpriced, oversized building with lots of 99%-ers running around attending to things for them.

  1. littlebigdaddy

    If Barry held an event in Detroit, he would fill the place. Hell, he should do it out of spite. Next week. Maybe he could bring Buddy Guy and BB King.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      I'm guessing Axlerod has the stadium tour all lined up for contrast. They are already doing the DNC acceptance speech in an NFL stadium (one that the team normally doesn't fill, because they are the Carolina Panthers, but which Obama will).

    2. Negropolis

      Hell, round up some of the Motown legends still present in the area, stick in Aretha Franklin, Eminem, and the ICP, and the election is over in Michigan.

  2. Joshua Norton

    I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered.

    Who wrote this sketch? It's comedy gold.

    1. An_Outhouse

      Maybe it was written by the Drive By Truckers. Sounds similar to this:

      He packed a big-ass church out near Rogersville
      He drove the Cadillac she drove the Oldsmobile
      Every Friday he shacked up with his mistress
      Doing things that he'd never do with the Mrs.
      Who was back at home cooking dinner for him
      — Drive By Truckers, Go Go Boots

    2. FlownOver

      Well, I seen me a Cadillac window uptown
      There was nobody around
      I got into the driver's seat
      And I drove down Forty-second Street

      In my Cadillac.

      Good car to drive…

      After a war.

    1. OneYieldRegular

      You're giving him way too much credit. He should be wearing a powdered wig and driving a surrey.

    1. GOPCrusher

      Maybe the people of Detroit were just showing their support of Rmoney's statement that Detroit should have went bankrupt instead of getting a bailout.

  3. prommie

    You know, you're right, more people didn't come to this speech than haven't come to any speech by any of the other candidates. Thats an entire giant stadium full of no-shows. Most events are in a little church or some smaller venue where there are far fewer non-attendees not present.

    1. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      Heck, don't even worry about buying friends. It's Detroit, surely for $20 and a burger they could get the stadium filled. What is the use of even having a Super Pac?

    1. Preferred Customer

      The Detroit Free Press reports that the original plan was to hold it at the Book Cadillac, but that they had to move because it was oversold.

      Seriously? There are no other venues anywhere in Detroit between "hotel ballroom" and "football stadium"?

  4. Dirt_Dog

    Is anybody starting to feel sorry for Mitt with his completely tin-eared awkwardness, lack of sense of humor, and utter cluelessness? No, not me either.

    I'm predicting that no Mormon will be elected president until they're allowed to hit the booze, 'cause until then they won't understand how most of America actually thinks.

  5. Dudleydidwrong

    Mormon Libel! The stadium was filled to overflowing with the recently-dead-and-just-baptized Jews, Catholics, Slavs, Nazis, and Nigerian/Hawaiian Muslim relatives of Obama. You just need special glasses to see them.

  6. StarsUponThars

    You know when you're 12 and you invite all the mean girls to your sleepover but they don't come because they're stuck-up bitches? Yeah, it's like that.

    1. V572 Flambé

      Which, coinkidentally, also occurred in Detroit. Well, really in Warren, MI, at the incorrectly-named Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, now defunct.

      1. MrFizzy

        No shit? Something else to love about Detroit. You would really think that Mitt's handlers would have tried to determine how many people were showing up before they ordered a stadium venue. What a stick he is.

          1. GOPCrusher

            Probably should of went with the leather aviator's helmet and scarf instead of the tanker's helmet.

      2. Negropolis

        It's defunct under its former use, but it's now home to the United States Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

        1. V572 Flambé

          Thought they BRACed the Tank Plant and retained the office buildings west of the tracks, but haven't worked there in a while.

  7. DaRooster

    “I not only think I have the best chance, I think I have the only chance — maybe I’m overstating it a bit,” he said, chuckling awkwardly.

    Hey Chuckles… is there a single thing you don't do awkwardly?

    1. yyyaz

      Only destroying businesses with a keyboard from the comfort of his $10k execuchair. I hear that even seeing him sleep can induce lifelong insomnia.

  8. WhatTheHeck

    And talking about “Bail-outs,” looks like some people bailed out on poor Mitt.
    That, or they couldn’t afford to fill up their Cadillacs to drive to the republican lalalalapalooza.

  9. Mumbletypeg

    Couldn't he have just had a revival tent pitched instead, they manufacture them nowadays to fit 1200 underneath. I've always wondered what a Mormon altar call would look like. Why would one get "slain in the spirit" LDS-style when the real fun could be deferred down the road as a postmortem baptized zombie?

    1. Loaded_Pants

      Sorta OT but it relates to Caddies.
      We finally sold the '81 Caddie that had been sitting in our garage forever. It had only one previous owner; the grandmother of one of our neighbors who only drove it to the supermarket & church so it had low mileage. I'd like to think the major selling point was it had an 8-track player. There was still a case of 8-tracks in it when we got it. Ray Conniff, Don Ho, and Andy Williams. Granny knew how to rock.

      1. FraAnima

        I misspent much of my high school in a '71 Cadillac Fleetwood. We could fit a lot of hippies in that car.

  10. DrunkIrishman

    Watching the grass grow at Ford Field would be more interesting than sitting through another awkward Romney ramble.

    1. Preferred Customer

      You've got about as much hope of the grass at Ford Field growing as you do of Mitt uttering a coherent policy pronouncement.

  11. Dumbedup

    We had a word for guys like "couple of Cadillacs" Mitt back in Jersey. FUCKIN' DOUCHEBAG who somehow manages to be more awkward than RICHARD NIXON. Boy I bet some republicans are tying one on about now, trying not to think of the election.

  12. arihaya

    giving his speech to the only 1,200 people

    Bamma only need to sing a single line from BB King's songs and he will gather 20 times that number

  13. UnholyMoses

    Hate to go OT so early, but, this is fucking golden:

    The lawmaker who proposed Virginia's "get raped by the government before having an abortion after being raped" bill has a wife who wouldn't fuck him 'cause of the bill (instead of, ya know, on general principle).

    Behold the power of vagina!!

      1. UnholyMoses

        Or just decided her husband was too much of dick for her to touch his.

        Guessing since he's an R, the latter — no one that smart would marry someone that dumb.

        Well, almost no one …

    1. jus_wonderin

      I started watching until he said he was getting comfortable on the couch…and then I just got creeped out.

      1. UnholyMoses

        "So, ya like the couch, eh?!" says his wife.

        "Um, what I meant was–"

        "Shut it, mister! You like the couch so much, you can stay there! And never think of touching my vee again!"

    2. Geminisunmars

      I like how he couldn't bring himself to say "transvaginal" – it was trans-vee this and trans-vee that — but he could discuss his sex life on the hallowed floor, and he could bring himself to bring a bill about doing trans-vees.

    3. prommie

      Its incredibly sexist, ridiculous, witless, and gross, for this stupid fuck to tell this story in the Statehouse. It relegates women to that demeaning role of sex object. His wife couldn't convince him that he was wrong, she couldn't convince him with logic, argument, persuasion, no, she's a woman, a walking life support system for a pussy, so she convinced him by denying him pussy. I am sorry, but this fucking asshole, this makes me furious, telling this story that he got cut off because of the Bill, this is more insulting to women than the original bill. Fuckwad.

      1. Chichikovovich

        Interesting story. Completely independently of his decision to back down on the bill, his wife had decided to have sex with him again after all. While he was giving the speech, she was out shopping for a probe.

  14. BerkeleyBear

    This could be the enduring image/sound of Romney – the guy and his team have zero clue on optics and tone. Apparently enthusiasm and charisma are overrated in Romney world. They all pale in front of huge stacks of cash.

    1. DrunkIrishman

      Romney's campaign seems to be working with the same play book Democrats used throughout the 1980s to run their presidential campaigns.

  15. Callyson

    Jesus Christ. What could be worse?
    "President Mitt Romney." That could be *much* worse…
    …off to have a drink or ten to get that horrifying thought out of my mind…

    1. Generation[redacted]

      On the upside, I imagine there would be plenty of empty front row seats at his inauguration, if you wanted to attend.

  16. littlebigdaddy

    They were thinking of having it at Joe Louis Arena but they were afraid someone would throw an octopus.

  17. savethispatient

    Romney-bot 3000 is trying to make us believe he's a real boy:

    I was actually born in Harper Hospital

  18. SudsMcKenzie

    Jim I think I speak for all of us in that were thrilled your back.
    But its Friday, …. you know what we have all been Jonesing for
    And its not like she hasn't written anything absurd lately
    Like this chestnut from her "How Honest Is 'Honest Abe'?" article

    "You there, political consultant, genius ad cutter, sitting at your laptop reviewing the images and the script. Are you making a brutal ad to take the enemy down? Are you thinking of anything but your status as an effective guru and your pay? Are you thinking at all of the net effects of your dark work?

    No? Then a curse upon you as you hit "save" and "send." May your hand be palsied. May it lose its power."

    Please sir, can we have some more Noonan?

  19. Toomush_Infer

    Other than your recently uncalled for remarks about the Lions, I can only say : "How fitting…."

  20. Come here a minute

    Meanwhile, in Arizona, Senator John McCain shouted his opinions at the wall. With equivalent results.

  21. Doktor Zoom

    The luckiest attendees had 50-yard line seats.

    Also, I think it was pretty mean of Newt to promise that he'd send all his Twitter followers to fill the stands.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      I believe it was Margaret Truman who did him in by saying he looked like the little man on a wedding cake.

  22. imissopus

    From the party that sneered at Obama giving his acceptance speech at the '08 convention in a football stadium. Even Mitt still sneers about it on the stump.

    1. Generation[redacted]

      Well, yeah, anyone who can gather that many supporters in a stadium is just showing off.

      Romney appeals to a more "selective" audience.

        1. Geminisunmars

          I think you missed a golden opportunity here. Or were you just not showing off?

          You know who else liked to show off in stadiums?

          1. Geminisunmars

            You are now in possession of a special get-out-of-meme-free card. Feel free to roam around the cabin.

  23. SexySmurf

    Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.

    If Mittens would get a goddamn real job, maybe his wife wouldn't have to be on Welfare.

  24. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered.

    Strangely enough, though, all of Romney's chauffeurs drive imports.

  25. flamingpdog

    That looks like the size of the crowd at a lot (= nearly all) of the Washington Senators games back in the '60s. Not the way to prove you're a Washington outsider, Mittens.

  26. randcoolcatdaddy

    Reminds me of the opening of Altman's "Brewster McCloud". Did Margaret Hamilton sing the national anthem?

  27. An_Outhouse

    To be fair, all the tea party folks have jobs and couldn't get away at that time.

    (Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth).

  28. DaveJ

    I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered.

    "I knew I was running for President, for Pete's sake, what was I going to do, drive a Toyota? Of course I salute the employees of Toyota Motors in Tennessee, which also has trees that are, remarkably, the exact right height as well."

  29. widestanceromance

    Wait until those people realize Jeebus is not the main act–there will be heck to pay, my friends.

  30. BlueStateLibel

    You've got it all wrong again! The extra space was intentional in case the mother ship needed to make an emergency landing if the humans suddenly turned on him!

  31. OneYieldRegular

    Lemme get this right. Mitt goes to one of the most economically devastated major cities in the United States to boast that he owns four cars, all made by people who work for companies unlikely to still be around but for the bailouts he opposed? Chootzpathetic.

  32. DerrickWildcat

    Holly Bailey, writes political junk for yahoo. Her story on this speech ended like this,
    "Throughout his speech, Romney's voice echoed throughout the stadium, highlighting its emptiness."
    Nice.

  33. Loaded_Pants

    NPR's just did a segment about this. They spoke to some guy who attended who's known the Romneys for 50s years. He said of Romney: "He wasn't the best athlete. He wasn't the best scholar."
    No shit.

  34. SolitaireRose

    So what if his lines were meant for giving in a hotel conference room to 80 – 100 people who are there so that they can get out of work for the day, put "Attended seminar on multi-tier social networking" on their resume and get a free lunch on the tier of a school lunch. Mitt need to practice for his career after Obama whomps him in November, even AFTER Michelle is caught putting carrots in Republican kids's lunch box Twinkees.

  35. Tundra Grifter

    That stadium looks like the Orange Bowl when the Hurricanes played in 1969-70.

    Of course, by tomorrow on the FoxPAC it will appear to have been a packed house!

    1. Chichikovovich

      I just saw the Fox clip – the place was packed and people were going crazy! And everyone was wearing maize and blue or scarlet and gray, which are the Romney campaign colors, I guess.

  36. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Given the horrifying implications of a stadium full of howling Rmoney supporters, this is a very good thing.

  37. IndieinCt

    This *image* is outrageously funny! This ONE image could be THE downfall of Romney! ? Me-thinks Santorum, Gingrich, AND the DNC are going to have LOTS of fun with this campaign-sinker!

  38. Veritas78

    Okay, so now I hope Romney ekes out a win in Michigan and cruises to the nomination, with this team of adviser geniuses.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Not a problem: The Koch Bros. have some guys at Georgia Pacific who know the optimum height for trees.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Guy's basically been running for President for six years and this is he best he can do.

      Successful business man? Don't confuse brains with a bull market.

  39. Tundra Grifter

    I may be going out on a limb here, but maybe the best way to fill a stadium in Detroit isn't to announce a white guy is the headliner.

    Especially one who can't sing.

  40. barto

    Now to be fair Mitt wanted the empty stadium to emphasize how important he felt each and every one there was to him, sort of. Just think of being able to tell your grandkids "I was there". Shit, I should be writing his stump speeches dammit.

  41. Negropolis

    Just for some context, the "Detroit Economic Club" — founded in 1934 — is a 1% supper club, essentially. It's no more in touch with Detroit, anymore, than Mitt Romney, even though it exists within the area.

  42. erikwdc

    Oh, c'mon! It's SO obvious the only reason Mitt Romney agreed to give a speech to an empty stadium is to have a reason to fire some people on his campaign.

    He likes firing people!

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