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Trumpapalooza: The night Alabama became the center of the political universe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmOwV9VemDc
(Video above: Sen. Jeff Sessions joins Donald Trump on stage in Mobile)

MOBILE, Ala. — Tens of thousands of Donald Trump supporters flocked to Ladd-Peebles Stadium Friday evening for what many are saying was the largest event so far in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

“Friday night resembled something between a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and the Daytona 500,” the Washington Post exclaimed.

While most candidates continue to fly commercial and traverse the country on buses this early in the campaign, the first sign of Trump’s presence in The Port City was the silhouette of Trump Force One, the billionaire real estate mogul’s private Boeing 757.

Trump was preceded on stage by a host of local and state elected officials who endorsed him before an anxious crowd.

Ever the showman, the man himself then took the stage to, of course, “Sweet Home Alabama,” before inviting a local hometown hero up on stage with him.

“We have a great politician here,” Trump began. “We have a man here who really helped me. He was the one person I sought his counsel because he’s been so spot-on. He’s so highly respected. Has anyone ever heard of senator Jeff Sessions?”

The crowd erupted in applause and exploded when Sessions briefly donned a “Make America Great Again” hat before taking the mic.

“Donald, welcome to my hometown, Mobile, Alabama,” Sessions said to thunderous applause. “The American people — these people — want somebody in the presidency who stands up for them, defends their interests and the laws and traditions of this country. We welcome you here. Thank you for the work you have put into the immigration issue. I’m really impressed with your plan. I know it will make a difference. And this crowd shows a lot of people agree with that.”

Sessions stopped well short of endorsing Trump, but it was clear the senator was pleased to see the immigration ideas he has long espoused being a major plank in the nascent Trump policy platform.

Trump heaped praise on Sessions, noting the senator and his staff had advised him on his recently-released immigration plan. “We’re going to build a wall!” He declared, launching into his remarks.

The candidate then delivered an hour-long meandering speech — the kind that has become a staple of his campaign since he tossed his prepared remarks aside when first announcing his candidacy just over two months ago.

“We have politicians that don’t have a clue,” declared Trump. “They’re all talk, no action. What’s happening to this country is disgraceful.”

Trump’s decision to hold an event in Mobile raised some eyebrows initially. South Alabama is not typically a hotbed of national politics. But talking heads have in recent days acknowledged the Trump campaign’s savvy maneuver.

Several southern states, including Alabama, have teamed up to hold their primaries on March 1 in the so-called SEC primary. By banding together, the South will be a much stronger force in the nominating process. Trump’s stadium event was a statement that he’s going to play to win in the South, where many rock-ribbed conservatives have thus far been attracted to his tough talk on immigration and trade.

“We’re going to be strong in Iowa, New Hampshire and the other states that start it out,” ­Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Post. “Then comes the South. That’s the path to the nomination.”

Trump fittingly exited the stage to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” before making his way back to his plane in typical Trump fashion.

But before departing, he made sure to take one last photo with the only politician he seems entirely comfortable teaming up with.

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