Drivers on Ridge Pike in Conshohocken likely did a few double takes Thursday evening, as they drove past a big, shiny Romney campaign bus in the parking lot of the Plymouth Square Shopping Center.
The bus, nicknamed "Reagan" by campaign staff of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is one of three tour buses used nationwide by the campaign. However, this time it wasn't carrying Romney or running mate Paul Ryan, who were a thousand miles away at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., but acting as a main attraction for a watch party organized by high-level Pennsylvania staff.
"We did an in-state bus tour this week, starting in Erie and traveling down to Pittsburgh, Gettysburg and Villanova," said Billy Pitman, communications director for the RNC in Pennsylvania. "Southeast Pennsylvania is very important, Montgomery County included, for us to win and sell Governor Romney's message."
Pitman says the Conshohocken Victory Office, located in the shopping center, is one of the top performing of the state's 23 Romney campaign offices. About two dozen phones sit inside, which volunteers use each day to call local residents and talk with them about Romney’s stances on the issues.
"People are very excited about who Romney is and what his background is," Pitman says. "I think from our phone calls and his acceptance speech tonight a lot more people are going to learn why he's the right choice."
Asked why she was supporting Mitt Romney for president, Blue Bell resident Linda Raynes said she expected him to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
"He has sworn up and down he is going to get rid of Obamacare," Raynes said, pointing to a 'Repeal Obamacare' button on her shirt. "And I really don't think Obama has what it takes to be President of the United States. He doesn't seem to have the best interests of America as a priority."
Raynes was attending the watch party with friend Kat Howard, of Plymouth Meeting, who also expressed disappointment with President Obama.
"When it's halftime and the quarterback is doing a bad job in the game, you replace the quarterback," Howard said.
Howard also said she was excited by Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as vice presidential candidate.
"He's the money man in Washington, and he's got such charisma. He appeals to the younger generation," Howard said. "I'm worried about the [younger generation] inheriting these taxes, and I don't know what it's going to take for people to wake up and see that. It's gotta be Romney."
A Conshohocken resident who wished only to give his last name, Porter, said he was worried President Obama was stripping Americans of their rights.
"Obamacare for one. We have to buy healthcare, what's going to be next, telling us we have to buy certain clothes or cars?" Porter said. "Every time the government gives you something they take away a little bit of your liberty."
Attendees then gathered around a large projection screen to watch coverage of the convention. Pitman knows that Thursday night marked the start of the toughest part of the campaign season, but thinks events like the watch party will help energize Romney's supporters.
"We've got two months left, and the momentum has been big around Pennsylvania," Pitman said. "Tonight just gives everybody that little extra kickstart, because it's full steam ahead from here on out."