Hmm… Romney Packed Hall for Debate Last Night Says Gingrich Aide

If you watched the debate last night and wondered why the audience went nuts over Mitt Romney’s mediocre answers you’re not alone.

In South Carolina the Romney camp shipped in busloads of college kids.

(Reuters / JIM YOUNG)

Last night the Romneybots reportedly stacked the hall with Mitt supporters. At least, that’s what the Gingrich camp claims.
The Huffington Post reported:

Members of Newt Gingrich’s campaign accused Mitt Romney’s campaign of packing the audience for the Republican presidential candidate debate on Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla., with its own supporters to ensure that the dynamics would be favorable to Romney.

“They definitely packed the room,” Kevin Kellems, one of Gingrich’s senior advisers, told The Huffington Post early Friday morning. “The problem for them is their candidate, at several junctures, couldn’t remember what he had said before on an issue or what the fundamental truth is on a given topic. TV viewers tend to notice and remember things like that.”

A more junior member of the Gingrich campaign said in an email that it was “obvious” that the Romney campaign had worked to make sure the audience was overly favorable toward the former Massachusetts governor.

“I was getting calls and emails from all over saying this,” the junior aide said. “Just average people saying, ‘Wait a minute.'”

The campaign staffer noted that the Florida Republican Party had “picked 900 plus seats.”

Florida Republican Party spokesman Brian Hughes told HuffPost in a phone interview late Thursday that the state party controlled who got roughly 900 of the 1,200 tickets issued to the debate. But he took issue with charges that the crowd was tilted toward any one candidate.

“The vast majority of [the tickets] went to rank and file. We did a very thorough job of getting them to the rank and file, vetting them to make sure they went to registered Republicans and then making sure they went out to people that were not knowingly affiliated” with any of the candidates, Hughes said.

“We worked very hard to ensure that the room was rank-and-file folks who represent the electorate that these guys are trying to speak to,” Hughes said.

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