(WOLFEBORO, N.H.) — The Romney family vacation hit a peak Wednesday as several of its members paraded down Main Street in the picturesque New England town of Wolfeboro, N.H.
Residents flocked to catch a glimpse of the presumptive GOP nominee with some even setting up chairs at dawn to get a good seat along the route.
Romney, accompanied by his wife, Ann, their five sons and more than a handful of their grandchildren, marched through the Wolfeboro town center, greeting supporters with handshakes and an occasional sweaty hug. Romney has been there since Saturday enjoying a week-long vacation. Wednesday marked his first public event.
“Happy Fourth of July!” Romney wished supporters as he criss-crossed the street, his Secret Service agents in tow, to shake as many hands as possible. “Happy Birthday, America!”
When one supporter yelled, “Save our spirit,” Romney responded with an emphatic “You bet!”
“Get out and vote next year, this November, I mean!” said Romney, wiping beads of sweat off his brow. At one point, stopping to guzzle a glass of lemonade, Romney was asked how it tasted, to which he replied, “Lemon. Wet. Good.”
The parade ended in a park overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, where Romney stood alongside New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte to make brief remarks in honor of the holiday. While Ayotte is rumored to be a vice presidential contender, members of the crowd were convinced that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would show up there on Wednesday with Romney. Jindal, who was in Baton Rouge, La., according to an aide, did not make an appearance.
“My heart is full this morning as I see you and know of your patriotism and passion for the future of this country, and I think of all that has been sacrificed so we can enjoy the liberties we have here,” said Romney on a stage decorated with American flags.
“The world needs a strong America. It needs an America that is convinced that its values are right, an America with strong homes and families, an America with an economy that’s bustling, creating jobs and supporting a military so strong that no one in the world would ever think of challenging it,” said Romney. “That is the America we must have and we must build!”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
MJ Lee, CNN Politics Reporter
Jeremy Diamond and Theodore Schleifer, CNN Newswire