MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa.—Mitt Romney was supposed to get off his campaign plane and board his motorcade for a last-minute get-out-the-vote effort.
But when the plane landed at the Pittsburgh International Airport, he found some 1,000 people waiting across the street from the tarmac, lined up on a three-story parking garage where they screamed and waved for the Republican nominee.
Romney paused at the top of the plane's stairs and waved to the crowd, which responded with a deafening roar of approval. He then walked briskly past reporters and straight up to a chain-link fence separating the airport and the parking garage, where he waved more and gave the thumbs up. At one point, Romney put his hand over his heart. Turning to walk back to his motorcade, the GOP nominee said, "Well, that's when you know you're going to win."
If Romney and his aides are worried about the outcome of the election, they're not showing it. For days, the Romney plane has been a happy place—the candidate and his aides smiling and laughing, and seeming almost wistful about the conclusion of what has been a long journey.
It stands in stark contrast to, say, the waning days of the 2008 election, when Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee, barely made eye contact or even spoke to his traveling press corps, as aides tried to spin an expected loss.
Asked yesterday what Romney's final meal would be before election night, Rick Gorka, the candidate's traveling press secretary, teased reporters for covering the campaign as though it were a death march."He'll live beyond Tuesday," Gorka said, laughing.
And in the plane, Romney and his senior aides have been seen in the front posing for iPhone pictures.
"We feel really good," Stuart Stevens, Romney's senior strategist said.
At a campaign office in Pittsburgh late on Tuesday afternoon, Romney said, "I believe [President Obama] is a good man and wish him well, and his family well. He is a good father and has been a good example of a good father, but it is time for a new direction. It is time for a better tomorrow."