In a sea of Jeb supporters at his announcement Monday, Lucy Orlando stood out as a particularly impassioned. The 71-year-old grandmother of nine was decked in a red T-shirt of Jeb’s smiling face above “We love you, Jeb! From the Lucy Orlando Team.” “Jeb is Unique…He loves people…He loves education and the whole country!” She made sure all members of her team were wearing the shirts (including two of her grandchildren). In fact, she kept a few extras draped over her arms to pass out to others.
“I just love Jeb! Love him!” Orlando squealed at Jeb’s announcement. She had voted for his brother years earlier and has been involved with the Caribbean and Haitian-American Republican Caucus. “He’s my friend. Just ask him. He’s so loving and actually cares. He really helped education. My grandchildren are very smart because of him.”
She then outstretched her arms and spread her fingers. “Look at this!” she said, laughing. She had manicured her nails so that each finger had a letter to spell out Jeb Bush.
A few feet away, three young republican Jeb staffers were packing away a roll of Jeb! 2016 stickers, when a few fell on the ground. Orlando saw this from the corner of her eye and shrieked: “Pick it up! Pick it up! Pick it up!” The staffers looked at her confused. “It is like the American flag. [His name] cannot be on the floor.”
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The staffers nodded and laughed. “Ten-second rule,” one of them pointed out with a smile. But Orlando was serious and watched in silence until all the Jeb stickers were lifted from the ground, and then returned to the event.
Seated in the front row, Orlando jumped up as Barbara Bush putzed on stage with Columba and her grandsons. She ran up to the former first lady and hugged her. From the bleachers, it looked like Bush was smiling. “She’s going to get kicked out,” a young man whispered to his girlfriend.
The woman has a bizarre background, according to the Sun Sentinel . Her answering machine once told callers to hang up if they didn't support George Bush. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, she wore a Bush hat and glasses so that the New York Sun called her a "walking Bush poster." By the way , she has also backed both Barack Obama and, *cough*, Hillary Clinton. A half dozen reports have even alleged that she attempted to broker deals that may have helped get weapons to Haiti in more tumultuous times.
But on Monday, even as her grandkids rested their head on her lap during Jeb's speech, Orlando looked on at the man whom she hoped (and truly believed) would be the next president of the United States. She was brimming with excitement.