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I-4 Corridor Predicts Florida for Romney

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They're not, but whatever. Baker obviously lives in a make-believe world where facts are created from nonsense and bound together by über-narrow-mindedness. Though he darts off before addressing bootleg Big Bird's complaints, something about him suggests he may oppose hobbling big oil.

Just a couple of hundred yards from Big Bird and Big Bullsh**, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Atwater has taken to the open-air amphitheater stage at the Romney rally.

Under a banner calling for the repeal and replacement of "Obamacare" and in front of a campaign-funded backdrop reminder that "Florida Is Romney Country," he suggests EPA regulations are borderline unconstitutional. "The power of freedom gives us the greatest opportunity of all the world," he says. "That constitution is what I believe in."

And so does Mitt Romney, according to Atwater.

In fact, the Bain Capital cofounder interprets deregulated freedoms as big business building blocks. "[Romney] knows that a 39-year-old American by the name of Charles Goodyear vulcanized rubber, and he did it without the Department of Environmental Protection."

Zing?

About an hour later, the Mittens finally waltzes onstage with his bride of 43 years, Ann. He delivers a 23-minute stump speech peppered with positions that change like baby's diapers to a rich white sea of 10,000 or so Central Floridians who just may swing the state's 29 electoral votes.

Eden Byler, a female Romney supporter from nearby Oviedo, is smitten. Not only does she think "He's the man we need for this country" but she also holds he is the better-looking candidate.

Still, she says, "It's the inside that counts. Mitt Romney's the man!"

Score: Romney — 3, Obama — 1 bird.


When Mike Buck encouraged us to "meet Jesus Christ" at some point along our road trip in DeLand, we brushed it off the same way we do Mormonism.

But then more people we spoke with started mentioning religion as one of the determining factors in Tuesday's presidential election. Take 69-year-old John DiCenzo of Orange City, a small burg just outside Sanford where Trayvon Martin was killed.

DiCenzo wears a quirky assortment of right-wing pins on his hat that boldly declare his political positions. A quick assessment tells me that he's unapologetically pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-Obama. DiCenzo says he'll vote for Mitt Romney because President Obama allegedly "never speaks up when Christians are attacked" but is "very much in defense of Islam."

"Anyone who has good moral values," he adds, "expects more out of a president than we've seen the past four years."

This made us wonder: What would Jesus do? So we headed southwest to the corner of Conroy and Vineland in Orlando, where a facsimile of God's only son is the main attraction at a Christian theme park called Holy Land Experience.

We paid the $40 for admission and passed through a replica of the Damascus Gate, the park's entrance. Built to look like Jerusalem circa 12 A.D. — but proudly serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches — this mega-blessed tourist trap is located not far from I-4's exit 75. Christ is resurrected here every Tuesday through Saturday at the 2,000-seat Church of All Nations around 4:15 p.m. He then helps out around the baptism pool until the park closes at 6.

After passing a casual cardboard version of Our Lord wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt, and angel wings shaped like a heart, we found a disciple named Frank Grate who was on his fifth trip to the Holy Land Experience from Fort Lauderdale. He backs Mitt Romney and an end to all abortions.

"Who's going to choose for the baby?" Grate asked rhetorically.

The woman?

"No, she shouldn't," he declares. "The baby should have his or her own rights."

That makes sense. Next, it's on to a quiet garden just outside of the Holy Land's main gate, where Kris Hoke of Orlando is also hoping Romney will triumph over evil. A sun-soaked middle-aged lady in a purple athletic tank top, she's worried that President Obama may eliminate "God" altogether. "I think it's important that [Romney] has the faith," she says. "I think it's important to keep 'In God We Trust' on the dollar bill."

Neither candidate has proposed eliminating that phrase.

Finally, four women from Orlando file out of the Holy Land Experience and into the parking lot. They're fired up and ready to go home after watching Jesus' Crucifixion. "It was very powerful," says Laura Fisher. "I encourage anyone to come to the Holy Land."

Fisher works as a manager at McDonald's; she's as passionate about President Obama as she is the salvation of man and still gets goose bumps when she thinks about the country's first black president. "It's all about Barack Obama!" she yells joyfully, accentuating each syllable in the commander in chief's name. "It took all that time for Bush to mess it up; then Barack came in for four years, and he needs four more years to get it straight."

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Victor Gonzalez