I saw the video from Rachel Madow. He barely half filled a 40,000 seat stadium.
Funny how the lamestreet news didn't show that, but did talk about it.
Thousands of people showed up to hear Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speak at an Alabama rally Friday, in which the business tycoon vowed, "we're going to make America better than it's ever been."
The crowd filled about half of the 43,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile. It was a hot night, and humid. Trump looked upwards and joked: "If it rains, I'll take off my hat and I'll prove, I'll prove, I'll prove once and for all, that it's mine," while stroking his hair.
Trump repeated his tough stance on immigration, vowing "we're going to build a wall," and saying Congress could end the guarantee of being granted citizenship upon being born within the U.S.
"The 14th Amendment — I was right on it. You can do something with it, and you can do something fast," Trump said. "In the case of other countries, including Mexcio, they don't do that. It doesn't work that way. ... We're the only place just about that's stupid enough to do it," he said.
Panorama of crowd and stadium here in Mobile. #trump. pic.twitter.com/rLDMDzIrKo
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) August 22, 2015
Trump's campaign had pegged the expected attendance at the event at 42,000. They moved Friday's "pep rally" from the city's Civic Center — which seats about 4,000 — to the stadium in anticipation of the huge crowd.
Police and fire officials estimated Friday's crowd at around 20,000.
Stadium is about half filled. Closer to 20,000 rather than the 40,000 campaign had hoped. Still largest Republican rally yet by far. #trump
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) August 22, 2015
Trump got some of his biggest cheers from the crowd Friday when he pledged to strengthen the military and take care of veterans, and when he extolled his skills as a businessman — while taking a swipe at GOP rival Jeb Bush.
"Who would you rather have negotiate with China, Japan, Mexico, any other: Trump or Bush?" Trump asked. The crowd cheered, and some began to chant "Trump! Trump! Trump!"
Trump has been drawing large crowds during stops in key primary states like New Hampshire, animating conservative voters who admire Trump's brand of brash, often personal politics and his draconian proposals to upend the nation's immigration policy.
"The more he speaks on issues — and he's an unfiltered candidate when he speaks — the more he does seem to resonate with folks," said Terry Lathan, the chairwoman of the Alabama Republican Party. "People like straight talkers and he seems to be doing that."
Last weekend, Trump unveiled an immigration blueprint that included the construction of a continuous border wall, the deportation of the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and the ending of birthright citizenship for children born on U.S. soil to parents in the country illegally.
Alabama, which will hold its presidential primary along with a slate of other southern states on March 1, 2016, could be particularly fertile ground for Trump's message.
In spring 2011, the state enacted the nation's harshest law to crack down on illegal immigration, including a provision requiring police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally if the person was unable to produce proper documentation. The law also included a provision requiring public schools to determine the immigration status of students.
But a series of lawsuits swiftly resulted in the halting of many of the law's key provisions, which opponents decried as blatantly unconstitutional. By October, the state reached a settlement agreement that effectively gutted the measure.
The state's Hispanic population was about 4.1 percent in 2013, according to Census figures. But that number has been growing. Between 2000-2012, Alabama was one of the five states nationwide with the fastest growth of its Hispanic population, which grew 157 percent over the 12 year period.
Alabama is also heavily conservative, backing Mitt Romney by 61 percent over Barack Obama's 38 percent in the 2012 presidential election.
Trump's appearance in the state is intended to build support as the Republican field courts the southern voters who will weigh in on the primary contest shortly after key states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Thousands Attend Trump Rally in Mobile, Alabama
Aug 22, 2015, 10:20 AM ET
By ALANA ABRAMSON and LISSETTE RODRIGUEZ via This Week
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Mobile, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015.
Donald Trump Holds Stadium Rally in Alabama
Next Video Thousands Line Up for Donald Trump's Rally in Alabama
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In what was hyped to be one of the biggest events of the 2016 campaign so far, GOP front-runner Donald Trump held a rally Friday in Mobile, Alabama, in front of thousands.
The campaign had to switch locations twice -- from a hotel and convention center -- after demand for tickets exceeded holding capacities. Ultimately, the event was held in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which can hold up to 40,000 people.
The stadium was about half full when Trump started his speech. He said it drew 30,000 people.
Alabama was great last night, amazing people. 30,000 folks was largest crowd of political season. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2015
About half full and a helluva menagerie of people.... pic.twitter.com/AcGqXZouPI
— Kim Boone (@travelnlt_kim) August 22, 2015
"We were going to have 250, 300 people. The hotel was great. They said something is happening here. We can't hold this," Trump said. "And then, we want to the convention center and they can have 10,000 people...The next day they said too many people we can't put them in. So we came here."
Trump supporters begin to line up in Mobile for what the campaign hopes is the biggest rally of the 2016 race so far pic.twitter.com/9WJnvXnskR
— Seni Tienabeso (@SeniABC) August 21, 2015
Literally thousands here already! For a primary rally just a couple of months in! @realDonaldTrump #TrumpAlabama pic.twitter.com/bNbSYAx83S
— rebelfag68 (@rebelfag68) August 21, 2015
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has so far held the record for largest crowd at an event this season, when he drew 28,000 people to Portland for a rally.
Christopher Donato contributed reporting.
Despite all the free media, Trump's rally was only half-full, and this in Alabama.
But you would not know that from the media's reporting. The info is generally buried in the middle of the page. Kudos to Rachel Maddow for making this clear.
Still a lot of people, but about half what they boasted they would get. You got to wonder how many Sanders or even Cruz/Carson ( ) could get if their rally was publicized like his.
The event was previously planned to be held at the nearby Civic Center but was moved to the 43,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium -- a venue normally home to high school football games -- to accommodate the crowd. It was not immediately clear how many people attended the rally; the 5,000-seat bleachers behind Trump were filled to capacity, but the east and west bleachers flanking the field -- which each hold up to 15,000 people -- were about half-full when Trump began speaking around 7:30 p.m. CT.