Hockey Playoffs or Politics?

Supporters of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama argue outside a Romney event Wednesday. (Photo: Scott Thuman)

“Idiots!” yelled one woman from the back of a car.

“That’s very sweet of you” sarcastically responded the target.

Then it got physical.

An imposingly large man walked over and without saying much knocked a sign out of a retiree’s hands. It hit with such force anyone in earshot spun around to see the aftermath which mostly consisted of the aggressor walking away quickly to avoid pursuing TV cameras.

Outside of the Verizon center before the Capitals and Rangers hit the ice might have been the more likely backdrop for such aggression…sadly however, this one was in Chantilly outside a campaign appearance by Mitt Romney who just finished talking about women and small business owners (inflammatory, I know).

This race, and the ensuing fervor, to play out between candidates and their supporters will be of epic passions in the Old Dominion this year. Virginia, as I’ve been preaching to my newsroom colleagues will be not just a top-shelf trophy for the campaigns. But may be put upon such a lofty perch it forces Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania to “scooch over” just a tad.

In a recent interview with Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager told me winning Virginia is clearly in their top five but didn’t care for the word “trophy”.

Nevertheless, the proof is in the pudding…or calendar, in this case.

Let’s take a look.
-Wednesday-Romney in Chantilly
-Thursday-Romney in Portsmouth
-Friday-Obama in Arlington
-Saturday-Obama in Richmond

And keep in mind these aren’t just your typical road-side stops. Romney’s Chantilly event was essentially the kick-off to his campaign in Virginia. And President Obama’s Richmond rally is the official beginning to his national campaign. Since nothing…and I mean, almost NOTHING is ever coincidental in campaigns, we should consider these carefully choreographed moves to indicate that Virginia and its toss-up status is likely to be a frequent host to these two men and their countless surrogates.

Another factor: money.

Granted the overall figures are not astronomical, yet. But according to the Virginia Public Access Project, each candidate has pulled in about a million bucks so far from donors here.

Obama: $992,208 from 1,765 individual donations
Romney: $989,398 from 954 individual donations

**the largest percentage of open wallets hailed from Alexandria, Arlington and McLean.

Yes, the passions do run deep.

Here’s my report from Wednesday and a link to my photo gallery from the Romney event.

So what are we REALLY in store for?

Well, they say Virginia is for lovers…but then again, maybe that only applies in non-election years. After all, outside Romney’s fundraiser at the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton Wednesday night…a little girl held a sign reading simply, “MITT IS MEAN”.