Voight, McCain join Romney for lighthearted rally
January 28th, 2012
12:26 PM ET
11 years ago

Voight, McCain join Romney for lighthearted rally

Pensacola, Florida (CNN) - In a rally that at times seemed more like a stand-up comedy routine, a host of high-profile supporters joined Mitt Romney on stage at a picturesque Pensacola restaurant Saturday.

Actor Jon Voight, who was a steadfast and outspoken supporter of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2008, addressed the audience along with Sen. John McCain, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida.

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The GOP stalwarts spoke to group of several hundred voters who wrapped around staircases and a deck at The Fish House, a rambling outdoor restaurant overlooking the Pensacola Bay.

For his part, Voight stuck to a serious endorsement of Romney, calling the candidate "a man of faith, honor, love, and truth" who would reverse what he called a decision by President Barack Obama "to follow (Obama's) father's footsteps and take us to socialism."

Then the jokes began. Reprising a cadre of well-worn but always popular zingers, McCain charmed the audience at what the campaign billed as a veterans event.

In jest, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee urged the audience to "vote early and vote often."

"Don't let me hear on Wednesday morning that you forgot to vote," he warned. "We have surveillance cameras."

His one-liners extended to introducing his fellow Republicans on stage.

"My friends, it's hard trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan," McCain said to laughter as he introduced Miller, the Florida congressman.

He nodded to Voight's role as a villain in the popular television series "24," which pitted American hero Jack Bauer against a range of evil-doers and terrorists.

McCain told the audience he was "frightened the whole time" watching Voight's character.

"Didn't you learn to love to hate this guy? Wasn't he a threat to America and the world? Thank God for Jack. God bless Jack, thank you," McCain said to laughter in the audience. "Jack Bauer killed him three or four times, thank God."

The Arizona senator also included a vigorous endorsement of Romney, and took a veiled jab at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for attacking Romney's private sector career.

"You know, I do not understand, I do not understand - do you? - why anyone would attack a person who is successful in business in the free enterprise system. That is a sign of desperation," McCain said. "A desperate candidate is a candidate who attacks someone who succeeds in the free enterprise system."

Speaking after McCain and remarking on his supporter's successful "repartee," even Romney decided to join in on the fun, making a joking allusion to Voight's famously difficult relationship with his daughter, the actress Angelina Jolie.

"I didn't know how to sort of chit chat with a famous actor like that," Romney said of a phone call with Voight. "I started talking about my five boys. I said, you know, it's easier to raise boys than girls. Well - long pause. He says, tell me about it."

The GOP candidate then told a joke about governors, noting he was joined by two such state officials that morning.

"There's this farmer and he was driving this truck, this livestock truck. He is driving along and he was going too fast and a trooper pulls him over, comes up and says you are going too fast, don't you have a governor on this thing?" Romney told the audience. "He says, no, the smell you smell is from the animals in the back."

Romney spoke for roughly 14 and a half minutes and did not take audience questions.

Also see:

Romney: Gingrich debates complaints like 'Goldilocks'

Palin decries GOP 'cannibalism,' defends Gingrich

Romney surrogates shadow Gingrich campaign

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • John McCain • Mitt Romney
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Great report. I'm not sure saying "roughly 14 and one half minutes" is appropriate.

    January 28, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney should have been McCain's running mate in 2008, he would have won but no, he picked Palin and she used "cannibalism" against him. In 2008 Gingrich was asked the question about Palin's candidacy and Newt said "she needs to study among other things. Recently Gingrich "threw Palin a bone and she took a bite" in hopes Newt will win and she'll get a job in the WH. Obvioulsy Palin hasn't taken Newt's advice to study therefore she remains politically bankrupt and too lazy and illiterate to study.

    January 28, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The clown show and comedy act has taken its toll on the citizens of Florida. Wednesday is going to be a good day for us.

    January 28, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    "Vets for Romney?" You really have to be kidding!

    January 28, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    One would think that most Americans are not happy about Mittens' tax evasion, corporate raiding and job killing, vulture capitalism, off shore banking, Swiss bank accounts, lying, trying to kill social security and medicare, chicken hawk war mongering, and envying those who have a pension, veteran's benefits, a decent job, and are in the middle class. The people he represents are corporations, big oil, Wall Street, and big banks.

    January 28, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Now, it seems that right wing foreign owned media seems to have accepted that Mittens is the chosen one.

    January 28, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Romney does himself no favors with his so-corny jokes. Remember his analogy to amber waves of corn in Iowa?

    January 28, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. mc

    thats your first clue when you know your out of luck when your politican doesnt even consider taking any questions or addressing any actual concerns. your pretty much screwed over. i live in pensacola florida and let me tell you dealing with marco rubio and john kerry they dont care. look at rick scott for example look at the mess he made in pensacola and in florida. as a son of a military father im pretty ashamed of this country and what it has become. i have autism and mild aspergers its bad enough i have to take care of my family i work part time at a local grocery store. i will vote for whoever does the job right. i dont care if its a republican a democrat or a non demonitation like ron pau.l as long as they actually protect us and take care of the people at home first that is all i ever care about.

    January 28, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. callmecrazy

    The governor joke probably was about as well received as Obama's spilled milk joke. Politicians should hire comedians if they want to tell jokes. I recommend Jon Stewart.

    January 28, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Jon Voight? Isn't he one of the "Hollywood Elite"?

    January 28, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Sounds like another staged Rove production. We're supposed to believe it was a "lighthearted rally" rather than the usual smearfest of lies and hate (oh wait, didn't Voight mention President Obama's Kenyan father?) because Rmoney, the Pretty Little Princess, was wearing his lighthearted blue-checked shirt instead of his "I'm just a common man who makes millions in my sleep" white one.

    January 28, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |