STAMFORD — While none of the Tea Party Patriots protesting President Barack Obama’s visit to the state Monday were happy that Mitt Romney is the presumed Republican presidential nominee, “anything is better than Obama,“ was a common refrain.
Carol Cheslock of Bethel said she would have preferred Michelle Bachman and an earlier primary. But knowing it was unlikely that Connecticut will be able to move up its primary ahead of Iowa or New Hampshire, she refocused on the reason she was outside the Stamford Marriott: “We need to make Obama go away,” she said.
“I don’t think he’s a very good man, and he’s definitely not a good president,” she said. “Where did our morals go? They’ve been stupided down.”
A gentleman standing next to Cheslock added, “you can’t fix stupid.”
Ron Wilcox, a state coordinator for the Tea Party, agreed that Connecticut is generally perceived as a liberal state, but he thinks many support conservative values regardless of their party affiliation.
“A lot of Democrats are disenchanted with the direction our state has gone,” Wilcox said. “I think the state is shifting away from the center and toward the right.”
There are still more unaffiliated voters than Democrats or Republicans, and the numbers of unaffiliated are growing at a quicker pace than either party.
“Regardless of the party you belong to, gas prices have gone up, medical insurance has gone up, unemployment has gone up. There’s nothing really positive our current administration can say about their efforts and what is happening in this state,” Wilcox said.
He said there’s a surge of support for the presumed Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, that the mainstream media hasn’t picked up on yet, but it is beginning to show up in polls. He said the Quinnipiac University poll only has Romney down by 6 points in the swing states of Florida and Ohio and 11 points in Pennsylvania.
Two years ago, the Tea Party stood in the same location on Tresser Boulevard, across from the Stamford Marriott, and expressed their views on the new health care bill, Richard Blumenthal, and the economy.
The event they were protesting that day was a fundraiser for Blumenthal’s U.S. Senate campaign. Monday’s event was a fundraiser for Obama’s re-election campaign. The $500-per-person reception was expected to draw about 500 Democrats.
“We have a number of people who are here for the first time and they’re thrilled,” Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, said before heading in to the fundraiser.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was also in attendance, said he was more excited to see Obama than he was to meet Anne Hathaway, an actress on the guest list for the fundraiser at movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s manse.
Malloy joked that the president will get to experience rush hour on Interstate 95 and he plans to hit him up for some money to solve the gridlock.
But it was probably Connecticut residents who experienced the gridlock and not Obama who landed at John F. Kennedy in New York and was transported by Marine One to Westport, then by car to the hotel in Stamford.
Republicans across the state expressed their displeasure with the state’s decision to close Sherwood Isle State Park in Westport so that Obama’s helicopter could land there to attend the fundraisers.
The event at Weinstein’s beach house will cost $35,800 per person and 50 guests are expected to attend, including Hathaway, Aaron Sorkin, and Joanne Woodward. The money will go to the Obama Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee.
Obama is trying to close the funding gap between his campaign and Romney’s.
It’s the third straight month that Obama has trailed Romney in fundraising.
Romney’s campaign reported raking in more than $101 million with the Republican National Committee, compared to the $75 million that Obama’s campaign said it had brought in with the Democratic National Committee.
It’s unclear yet whether Obama’s message to some of Hollywood’s elites at Weinstein’s beach house will be the same as it was for nearly 500 Democrats at the cocktail reception in Stamford.
In Stamford, the crowd quieted down when Obama started talking about the American dream.
“If you work hard, you can get ahead,“ the president said. “The same promise our parents and our grandparents passed down to us . . . and now it’s our responsibility to make sure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy that great privilege.”