BY JIM HADDADIN
PORTSMOUTH — By boat, by car and on foot, local Democrats gathered at the commercial fishing pier in Portsmouth on Monday to make themselves heard during an appearance by Republican Mitt Romney.
Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, campaigned at the Portsmouth Fishing Pier on Monday with Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
As early as 8 a.m., more than two hours before Romney's scheduled appearance, about a dozen supporters of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign had gathered on the sidewalks lining the road to the fishing pier, chanting intermittently and holding signs in support of Obama.
At about 9:30 a.m., a contingent of seven Obama supporters advanced to the center of a small bridge overlooking the fishing pier and began hollering "flip-flop" toward the empty stage — an apparent effort to lampoon Romney.
They were eventually asked to exit from the bridge by security personnel in anticipation of the appearance, which was attended by tight security.
Among the Romney opponents in attendance Monday was Hampton resident Marcella Quandt, who held a tall, wooden paddle with at least four Obama campaign posters affixed to it. Quandt said she holds liberal beliefs on social issues and is fiscally moderate, but began supporting Democrats when the country waged war in Iraq, and wanted to show her support for the president.
Members of the group Americans United for Change maneuvered a small boat into the waters near the fishing pier during Romney's appearance, according to member Lauren Weiner, who provided a photograph of the vessel via email after Romney's speech. They carried a sign that read "Mitt is Bad 4 NH."
In an early morning appearance at the fishing pier, Portsmouth Rep. Terie Norelli, the Democratic minority leader of the New Hampshire House, also offered a rebuke of Romney's "budget-busting" policies.
Ticking off a list of her concerns, Norelli highlighted Romney's support for the budget advanced by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney's efforts to "cut health care services for women," and to "eliminate Planned Parenthood," and his support of tax breaks for wealthy Americans.
By contrast, Norelli said, the president is implementing policies that will foster an "economy that's built to last."