Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney brought his campaign and the national spotlight to Augusta County Thursday evening. The event featured a concert from country music star Trace Adkins and huge traffic snarls.
Augusta County offers a rough crowd estimate of 10,000 people. Their voices reached a crescendo with each reference to Wednesday night's presidential debate. Romney's supporters hope that performance - combined with Thursday night's event - gives new lift to the underdog candidate.
Emerging to a deafening roar, Romney takes the stage, in a rock concert atmosphere at Augusta Expo. "That is one heck of a Virginia welcome," he said. "Thank you Virginia!"
The GOP nominee quickly pointed to his Wednesday night debate with President Barack Obama, saying he finally could ask the questions that many voters have.
Romney said, "Why is it that the middle class is still buried in this country? Why is it we have 23 million people out of work? Why is it half our kids coming out of college can't find good jobs?"
Fellow Republicans, including vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, declared debate victory for Romney and expect this rally to continue a rebound and resurgence. Democrats have another word for it.
"Their campaign has been one of reinvention, constant reinvention, trying to change the themes throughout their run," said Obama Virginia Spokesman Bruce Elder.
But the GOP says re-electing President Obama assures a $4,000 tax hike on middle-class families. Romney repeated his pledge to implement a five-point plan for economic recovery.
"The American people do not want higher taxes they want less spending and more growth," Romney said. "And we will bring them less spending and more growth. And get America on track to a balanced budget."
The GOP's rally in the Shenandoah Valley finished with pyrotechnics and the hope that the Romney-Ryan campaign also catches fire.
The Shenandoah Valley is a traditional stronghold for conservative voters, but Romney is not taking any chances. He'll return to the Shenandoah Valley on Monday, and will make a foreign policy speech at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.