Trump tells Alabama crowd he can’t wait for the election

Donald Trump commanded an fervent crowd Friday night in Mobile, Ala., as the Republican presidential front-runner said he wished voting for the 2016 election was already underway. 
“You know, if this were another country, we could maybe call for an expedited election, right? I would love that,” the businessman told a crowd estimated at 20,000 people gathered at Ladd Peebles Stadium.
“Can we do that? I’d like to have the election tomorrow, I don’t want to wait,” Trump said. 
{mosads}The real estate tycoon, who entered the stage to “Sweet Home Alabama,” told the crowd that the Bible was his favorite book, ahead of his own “The Art of the Deal,” and decried China stealing away U.S. manufacturing.
Friday’s event marked Trump’s first major outreach for the so-called “SEC primary,” a collection of southern states including Alabama that will hold their primaries for the GOP nomination March 1. 
Before the event, Trump mostly appeared in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as southwest border locations where he talked illegal immigration.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich traveled to Alabama earlier this week for an endorsement from Gov. Robert Bentley, and a slew of Republican candidates including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are expected to visited the state days after Trump’s rally.
Like several other campaign events for the reality TV star, including his arrival at the Iowa State Fair last weekend by private helicopter, Trump’s latest campaign event was a spectacle, with networks flashing images of his self-branded 757 jet careening across the sky over the stadium. 
Trump’s campaign upgraded the pep rally from a smaller venue, but came short of filling out the stadium with the “30,000-40,000” people Trump said Wednesday would end up there. About half of the stadium, which seats 43,000, was filled when Trump started, according to reports
Amid his about hourlong address, Trump showed his self-awareness regarding the reality TV-like element of the event by listing the networks carrying his remarks live: Fox News (“I like Fox”), CNN and MSNBC, several of which noted a number of empty seats in the stadium.
“Every time I speak, it has to be live,” Trump quipped.
The latest event capped off a week in which a top presidential rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, adopted a tougher strategy against Trump, holding a town hall in New Hampshire down the street from a Trump event and blasting the businessman as less than conservative on economic issues.
Bush’s campaign and allied super-PAC continued to rip the businessman before his event in Alabama started Friday, saying Trump’s record is on par with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
The campaign emailed supporters in the state about Trump’s “many extreme liberal positions” on abortion, taxes and gun rights, saying that “beneath Trump’s bluster is a record that would make Hillary Clinton proud.”
“Trump’s positions are deeply out-of-step with the Alabama way of life. We know Alabama cherishes life, especially the life of the unborn. Not a single Alabama taxpayer wants to see a massive tax increase,” the campaign email said. 
That tax message was echoed by Bush’s Right to Rise super-PAC, which sponsored a plane flyover with a message blasting “Trump 4 Higher Taxes. Jeb 4 Prez.”
But Trump, who has dominated polling since shortly after launching his campaign in mid-June, did not allow the barbs throw him off his stump message of promising tougher U.S. negotiating with other countries and vowing tougher border control, with a few jabs at Bush mixed in.
Early on, Trump invited Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who he consulted for his immigration proposal, to the microphone. Sessions, who heard raucous applause from the thousands gathered, briefly put on a white “Make America Great Again” hat before making a few remarks.
Trump also grabbed laughs by removing his hat and stroking his infamous ginger hair, telling those in the crowd, “If it rains, I’ll take off my hat and I’ll prove once and for all that it’s mine.”
– Updated at 10:37 p.m.
Tags Donald Trump

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