Ashland residents respond to Romney’s visit

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - Across the street from the Romney rally at Randolph Macon College, crowds lined the sidewalk in front of a small café, Homemades by Suzanne, waiting to catch a glimpse of their presidential hopeful and his new running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.

As Romney stopped for lunch, he was greeted by hundreds of supporters, as well as a number of President Obama fans.

Regardless of whether Ashland townspeople supported Romney or Obama Saturday afternoon, they agreed that their town represents the core of America; what this election is all about.

Senior citizen Charlotte Mallory would know, she's lived here her whole life.

"If you live here once, you'll never live anywhere else," said Mallory, while holding a baby dressed in red, white and blue.

"We're the American dream. We're where everyone wants to live. It's kind of an obvious place to want to come," said Ashland Mayor Faye Prichard, who says she's personally a democrat, but doesn't declare a party in her role as mayor.

Locals may agree about their love for Ashland, but not all of them rooted for the day's high-profile visitor.

"There's a new wave of democrats in the rural areas who are coming out in support of Barack Obama…to make their presence known," said Leslie Rubio, holding a sign in support of the current president.

After about three hours of waiting, cheers erupted as Romney and Ryan made their way off the bus into Homemades by Suzanne.

"That's a small place, but it didn't matter. It was packed with people screaming to the top of their lungs. I got tears in my eyes," said Tommy Samons, an 81-year-old spirited man who got a front row seat inside the restaurant.

He exited the front door waving a huge American flag, dressed in a flamboyant red, white and blue costume, which Romney apparently approved of.

"He said he liked my outfit," said Samons.

Romney bought three pies (apple, pecan and chocolate chess), and left a tip. He boarded the bus to his next stop, a packed gymnasium at the college.

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