Mixed feelings about Romney in Boston
?You?re going to win Mitt!? shouted one member of the crowd. Another carried a sign that read: ?Mitt is moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.?
A small cheer went up from outside the Beech Street polling centre in Boston where presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his wife cast their votes earlier today.
But not everyone in this affluent - but largely Democrat-supporting neighbourhood - where the Republican candidate calls home feels the same way. The community may value him - but it doesn?t mean they?ll vote for him.
Janet Fry (73) often sees Mr Romney?s wife doing her shopping at Shaw?s, the local grocery store, buying toys for her grandchildren at Belmont Toys. Sometimes she sees the couple eating at the Il Casale Italian restaurant close-by (he orders Bolognese, apparently).
?He?s well-liked here and see as a down-to-earth kind of person,? she said.
So, surely she voted for him?
?Oh, no,? said Fry, almost recoiling at the prospect. ?I voted for Obama - I was always taught to support the working class. My aunts would turn in their grave if I voted for Romney.?
Janette Martin (60) also from Belmont, left the polling centre wearing an over-sized Obama badge - the size of a small dinner plate - feeling frustrated.
?They told me to remove my badge!? she said, still annoyed. ?Maybe it?s because this his local centre.?
Inside the gleaming new Beech Street centre - normally an activity centre for older people - a marble plaque hangs on the wall with Mr Romney's name on it.
?Diamond benefactors ($50,000 - $99,000): Governor and Mrs Mitt Romney,? it reads.
?You know,? said Martin, almost conspiratorially, ?they say he lives here. He has a condominium around the corner from here. But he sold his house a few years ago... He?s just keeping his toe in the constituency.?
Martin wasn?t impressed by his stint as governor of Massachusetts, though Romney often cites his turnaround of the deficit problem here as a major achievement.
?He was a bad governor,? she said. ?We lost jobs here, jobs were shipped overseas, and there were fewer women in state government by the time he left.?
Mr Romney may have trouble finding supporters in his adopted neighbourhood. In the quiet, 25,000-strong Boston suburb, there are four times as many registered Democrats as there are Republicans.
While Belmont backed Romney when he ran for governor in 2001, the town failed to back him when he lost the 2004 US Senate race to Ted Kennedy.
In fact, the last time the town voted for a presidential candidate was in 1980.
But Ron Sacca (60) a bus driver and Belmont native, was on hand to defend the Republican candidate.
He held a placard supporting Romney, as well as folder containing Christmas cards he received from the candidate, personal photographs of the former governor and a hand-written letter from the candidate.
?I?m confident he?s going to do it,? he said, as a friend and fellow bus driver tugged at his arm, warning that his union colleagues wouldn?t be happy with his views.
?I don't care about that - I?m proud to support him. He used to come into the pizza shop I ran - he came in all the time. Ann Romney would pull up in her black BMW. She ordered pepperoni, as I recall ... They liked their pizza.?
He not so sure how Belmont will vote, but he was confident that a majority across the nation would vote for his neighbour.
"The country will support him,? Sacca said. ?He?s an honourable man.
"People try to do him down because of his religion. Kennedy faced the same thing in the 1960s because he was a Catholic, and we know how that turned out.?