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October 12, 2012

Ann Romney swigs cider with supporters in Bloomfield Township

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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Ann Romney addresses supporters at the Franklin Cider Mill.

Ann Romney stopped in to the Franklin Cider Mill Friday afternoon, where she had the chance to grab one of the mill’s famous doughnuts and address supporters, who came from across Oakland County to see the potential first lady.

It was about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 12 when the wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrived at the mill on Franklin Road, between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads. She perused the mill’s retail area and wandered inside for some apple cider and a doughnut. Moments later, she came back outside to greet a crowd of supporters who had gathered to hear her speak.

One of those supporters was Patricia Barisano of Chalmstead, Mass., who was in town visiting daughter Deb O’Hagan of West Bloomfield. Barisano said she was pleased to see Romney at the small cider mill, which she said provided a more intimate experience than some other political rallies.

“It’s nice that middle-class people are able to visit and not have to pay to go to a huge expensive fundraiser,” said Barisano. “People love Ann Romney. She’s so personable, and she’ll make a wonderful first lady.”

Franklin Cider Mill Owner Barry Peltz was excited about all the buzz the appearance drew to the mill, which is already busy this time of year. He said that when Romney’s campaign called and asked if they could stop by while in Michigan, it was an easy decision.

“It’s really cool, really exciting. When they offered, I said ‘absolutely.’ It was a no brainer to me,” said Peltz.

Peltz said this isn’t the first time the mill has doubled as a political stage. He noted that former first lady Laura Bush and former Michigan gubernatorial hopeful Dick DeVos have come to meet and greet voters. He said candidates from any party are always welcome to stop by his cider mill.

“We would allow (President Obama) and his wife to come here, too. It’s not a party affiliation. It’s all about the red, white and blue.”

As Romney addressed the crowd, she reminisced about going to the Franklin Cider Mill each fall as a young girl. She said her family lived in the area, where she attended Cranbrook with her high school sweetheart, Mitt Romney. The two have been married 43 years.

“Michigan is in our blood,” said Romney to the cheering crowd. “And guess what else. If we win Oakland County, Mitt is the next president of the United States.”

Romney even made sure to address the real question on everyone’s mind — yes, the doughnuts were good, just like she remembered.

“She’s very real; she’s a sweetheart,” said Nancy Knight of Frankenmuth when Romney had finished her brief remarks.

Among those in the crowd was Mark Bliss, a Madison Heights Republican running for state representative in the 26th District. He said he was pleased with Romney’s message to Oakland County voters, and that she was able to deliver that message in such a personal way.

“It was excellent. I love that she’s able to talk about the area she’s lived in,” said Bliss. “It may have been awhile, but she remembers what a Franklin Cider Mill doughnut tastes like.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.