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GREENVILLE, South Carolina--Outside Tommy's Ham House here this morning--where Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich scheduled back-to-back visits--a boisterous crowd of young, fresh-faced supporters was waving Romney signs and chanting, "MITT! MITT! MITT!"
But this wasn't a grassroots youth movement rooted at the University of South Carolina. No, many of the students cheering on the candidate told BuzzFeed they were actually BYU students and young Mormons from D.C. and Virginia who traveled to the Palmetto State to give their coreligionist's presidential effort a much-needed jolt of energy.
Kat Wardle, a 23-year-old BYU student who is spending the semester in Washington, D.C., said she and several young Latter-Day Saints have been following Romney around the state, playing the role of cheerleaders at various campaign stops.
"I was all over the place at the Lexington rally!" said Wardle, referring to a rainy outdoor event that the campaign has been spinning as an example of growing momentum. Despite the weather, a crowd of several hundred remained for the event and, Romney surrogates like Nikki Haley have pointed out, they were loud and proud.
My god. I've never seen a collapse this complete in my lifetime. This is just ... words fail.
The Romney campaign now faces the prospect of a game-changing double digit defeat at the hands of the Republican base. This will mean, after spending a ton of money in the three early states, he is coming out of this with 1-3, his only state being his home one. He faces the prospect of, once again, hitting a 25 percent support ceiling. YET AGAIN.
Another BYU student, who asked not to be named, said he traveled to South Carolina on a bus with several other Mormons and non-Mormons from Virginia, home to the small Mormon liberal arts school, Southern Virginia University. He said as far as he knew, the Romney campaign would be reimbursing the cost of the charter bus, and that volunteer coordinators suggested the out-of-towners show up at Tommy's.