September 3rd, 2007
01:45 PM ET
15 years ago

GOP campaigns visit annual Labor Day parade in S.C.

The "Mitt Mobile" was in Chapin, South Carolina on Labor Day.

CHAPIN, South Carolina (CNN) - Sam Brownback, the Republican senator from Kansas, was the only presidential candidate to show up at the annual Labor Day parade here on Monday, but the lack of national politicians didn't overshadow the fact that this political ritual is alive and well in South Carolina.

Along with Brownback, the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani were out in full force distributing stickers and candy, mostly to children under the age of 10.

Romney's son Craig was here representing his father's campaign, walking down Columbia Avenue shaking hands as the "Mitt Mobile" lumbered along behind him. Giuliani supporters in the parade struck up a "Rudy! Rudy!" chant, taking a cue from the popular football movie. Ron Paul also had a small but very vocal group of supporters who told the crowd that Paul is the only presidential candidate who "understands the Constitution."

The Chapin Labor Day parade serves as a yearly hub for local and national politicians looking to shake hands and make their appearance in this state known. Notably, George W. Bush walked the parade here in 1999 on his way to the Republican nomination in 2000. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, facing re-election next year, was here. So was GOP Gov. Mark Sanford. There were also candidates for local offices such as Chapin Sheriff all sharing space with cheerleading squads, high school bands, and area beauty queens.

Brownback was sandwiched between the sizeable Giuliani and Romney contingents, keeping pace with the parade and shaking hands with the crowd lining the streets. At one point, Brownback approached a middle-aged woman on Clark Street wearing a "Rudy" sticker. Unaware of Brownback's self-described "bleeding heart conservative" record, the woman shook hands with the senator and learned that Brownback is pro-life, at which point she put on a Brownback sticker and quickly peeled off the Giuliani sticker saying, "He just got bumped."

An American Research Group poll released last week shows Brownback polling at just two percent in this state, while Giuliani leads all Republican candidates here, coming in at 26 percent.

But Brownback was on friendly turf. As several locals told CNN, "Lexington County is Republican country." The only Democratic campaign to make an appearance here was that of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, whose three supporters rode in a pickup truck blasting the John Mellencamp song "Our Country."

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Ron Paul • Rudy Giuliani • Sam Brownback • South Carolina
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Lisa, Burbank, CA

    Considering the events of the last few days should we really be letting our children take candy from Republicans?

    September 3, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. xtina, chicagoIL

    Thank you CNN for the behind-the-scenes look at campaigning. I love seeing the reports on what goes on other than the prepared speeches.

    September 3, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Lisa, Burbank, CA

    After the events of last week, should we really be letting our children be taking candy from Republicans?

    September 3, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. RB

    Republicans showing up at Labor day rally? Maybe it's to see what workers still have jobs that missed out on being exported.

    Hypocrites all, just like Larry Craig.

    September 3, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. Darryl Schmitz, St. Johns MI

    It's shameful, the way the media gives so much coverage to candidates that have already promised to violate the Constitution if elected while giving so little attention to those who promise to preserve, protect, and defend it. Journalistic integrity?

    September 4, 2007 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Still waiting for Mitt to run down his qualifications, not just in spouting his hatred for gays (this week, at least) , but in actually managing money and overcoming serious financial and political challenges. What? He doesn't have any of these type of successes?

    September 4, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Republicans showing up at Labor day rally? Maybe it's to see what workers still have jobs that missed out on being exported.

    Posted By RB : September 3, 2007 6:49 pm

    You must have meant to post this on Hillary's blog as she and her husband supported NAFTA and LOVE illegal immigration that both kills jobs for the lower and middle class.

    September 4, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Jim, Coumbia SouthCarolina

    There is absolutely NO NEWS VALUE in attaching a photo of a candidate who DID NOT ATTEND coming out of a vehicle that ran in the parade, while your attending photojournalist has plenty of footage in action of the candidate who DID ATTEND – SAM BROWNBACK. This proves yet again that the local media and most reporters are fair, but the national media and news editors and "political directors", especially at networks like CNN, are as biased as possible against conservative, small government pro-life candidates like Sam Brownback. I am sure this comment will be removed soon because of truthfullness. If you don’t have photos of Brownback, contact the national campaign at

    September 4, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  9. Roxie Helder

    Thank you for the single sentence that acknowledged Ron Paul is in the race. Perhaps in the future you could add a friendly anecdote on Paul as well or give him a whole paragraph – as you did for Brownback for example. 090507

    September 5, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |