ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The line outside Spa Beach near the St. Petersburg Pier grew hours before Friday night's Romney rally, as thousands shuffled into the small park for a seat.
"From here on, I think they're going to be fantastic," said Romney supporter Joe Barbara. "I think they'll bury Obama."
Because of the heat and humidity, the wait landed several people in an emergency crew golf cart, while others passed out water to help avoid similar issues.
Coming off a campaign high after Wednesday night's presidential debate in Denver, Governor Romney showed up to loud cheers, holding his wife's hand.
"I enjoyed that debate a couple nights ago," Romney said. "That was a great experience."
Romney's speech focused on the economy, calling President Obama a debt-raker who's failed to turn the country around during his term.
"That would be $20 trillion if he were re-elected at the end of his fourth year," he said, pointing to a national debt clock over his shoulder. "That would put in jeopardy the American dream for our kids and for a lot of us as well."
In contrast, Romney called himself a champion of small businesses, one who plans to create 12 million jobs if elected. He also made it clear how important the Tampa Bay area is for his campaign.
"Because I'm counting on Florida. We're going to win Florida," he said. "We're going to take back the White House. You guys are going to make it happen."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.