Supporters pack Daytona bandshell for Romney and Ryan

By Jason Wheeler, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, October 20, 2012, 6:27 AM EDT

Thousands of people crowded around the Daytona Beach Bandshell for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.

Country music star John Rich from Big and Rich performed for the fired-up crowd. They already heard from State Attorney General Pam Bondi and State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Both begged the audience to spend the next two weeks going to everyone they know to get them to vote for Romney and Ryan.

Then the main event took the stage around 9 p.m. Ryan attacked President Barack Obama and praised his running mate. Romney offered the more optimistic viewpoint.

"This is a big country with big opportunities and great challenges, and they keep talking about smaller and small things," Romney said. "We have big ideas. Bold ideas. A strong agenda. We're going to get America working again! That's why you're going to help elect the two of us. We're going to go to Washington and get this country on track."

Florida is key during this presidential election, and Romney will be back in the Sunshine State for the third and final debate Monday night.

While in Ocala Thursday, Ryan attacked the president for his tactics at the last debate on Tuesday.

"He's trying to distract this country," Ryan said. "He's trying to divide this country by pinning people against each other. He's trying to win this election by default, you know what, we're not going to let him get away with that. What Mitt Romney and I owe you, our fellow countrymen and women is a choice. A clear agenda for how we fix this country's problems. "

The Obama campaign issued the following statement after the rally:

“Here’s just part of President Obama’s agenda for a second term: double our exports, create a million manufacturing jobs, cut oil imports in half, recruit 100,000 math and science teachers, train two million workers at community colleges, and reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion. Here’s Mitt Romney’s: empty promises, sketchy math, and blatant falsehoods. Despite what he said tonight, Romney would have to raise middle class taxes to pay for his $250,000 tax cuts for multi-millionaires, while independent economists agree his jobs ‘plan’ would not create jobs and could slow the recovery. Mitt Romney’s spent the last month hiding his true positions from the American people to win votes, but the truth is he’d take us back to the same failed policies that devastated the middle class in the first place.”

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Latest Updates

9:24 p.m.

Romney closes out by telling the crowd they are great, as fireworks explode overhead.

9:19 p.m.

Romney hitting his 5 pt plan now

9:15 p.m.

Mitt Romney at the mic now.

9:10 p.m.

Ryan: "We just got in town and we saw a lot of Milwaukee-made Harley's on the road here."

9:09 p.m.

Ryan: "We're going to fix the mess in Washington"

9:05 p.m.

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney take the stage to cheering fans.

9 p.m.

Audio issues seem to be plaguing the event. The rally was supposed to start at 8:30 p.m. but for the last half hour we've only seen audio people doing mic checks since John Rich left the stage.

8:20 p.m.

John Rich of Big and Rich is talking to the crowd right now in Daytona Beach, as they wait for Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan.

8 p.m.

Florida AG Pam Bondi on stage in Daytona Beach. "Are you ready to take back the White House?"

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater and State Sen. John Thrasher also talked to the crowd.