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Mitt Romney rallies faithful in Jacksonville

After $10,000-a-head reception, GOP hopeful meets public at River City Brewing

The crowd gave Romney a standing ovation when he talked about making changes that would benefit small businesses and give money back to the states.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mitt Romney received a warm welcome from hundreds of supporters at a public event on the Southbank on Thursday afternoon, his second stop in Jacksonville.

The Republican presidential candidate began his day at a $10,000-a-head fundraiser at the Epping Forest Yacht Club co-chaired by State Sen. John Thrasher, St. Augustine Developer Jay Demetree and former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. Channel 4 learned the presumptive GOP nominee raised $2 million during his two-day swing through Florida.

About three hours later, Florida's Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll introduced the former Massachusetts governor to supporters at River City Brewing Company.

Standing in front of a running tally of the $15.6 trillion national debt, Romney attacked President Barack Obama for not reforming the budget.

"I'm going to take us in a very different place," Romney said. "If I'm president of the United States, I happen to believe that we can be on the cusp of an extraordinary economic resurgence, a manufacturing resurgence, a jobs resurgence, a housing resurgence."

IMAGES:  Mitt Romney rallies at River City Brewing
UNCUT: Tom Wills one-on-one interview with Mitt Romney

The crowd gave Romney a standing ovation when he talked about making changes that would benefit small businesses and give money back to the states.

"I'm here to support Romney and get our country back," supporter John Dunlap said.

After Romney's appearance, Channel 4's Tom Wills sat down with Romney to ask questions of special interest in Jacksonville, including military spending and crime ravaging an entire generation of African-Americans.

"We have to do a much better job of helping kids understand that their prospects for the future if they get married before they have kids, so there's a mom and a dad that can help raise children. Secondly, we'll make a big difference if we talk to our children kids about the impact of drugs, not just on their life, but on deaths on our streets and the deaths in places like northern Mexico," Romney said. "Finally, we're going to have to have schools that are as effective as possible with the very best teachers in the world keeping kids excited and interested in learning so we have people dropping out of school."