was an optical and audio illusion orchestrated by Romney, Inc.
Elena Salinas, one of the Univision anchors who moderated the forums, told BuzzFeed that tickets for each forum were divided between the
network, the respective campaigns, and the University of Miami (which
hosted the events) — and she said both campaigns initially agreed to
keep the audience comprised mostly of students...
But... the Romney camp realized there weren't enough sympathetic students to fill the stands on their night — so they told the network and university that if they weren't given an exemption to the students-only rule, they might have to "reschedule."
The organizers relented. One Democrat with ties to the Obama campaign noted that Rudy Fernandez, the university official charged with coordinating the forums, is a member of Romney's Hispanic steering committee. Fernandez did not respond to BuzzFeed's questions about whether he gave preferential treatment to Romney's campaign.
...Romney's team was allowed to bus in rowdy activists from around southern Florida in order to fill the extra seats at their town hall...
Salinas said both candidates ultimately had partisan crowds at their forums, but that Romney's non-student activists ignored instructions to hold their applause.
"We were a little bit thrown because it was supposed to be a TV show, it wasn't a rally," Salinas said of the outspoken Romney supporters. "It was a little bit of disrespect for us."
Obama's campaign, meanwhile, stuck to the original parameters... The result was a quiet, well-behaved crowd — and a lot of no-shows.
...Romney himself almost pulled the plug on the whole thing
minutes before the broadcast, Salinas said.
While introducing Romney, ...Jorge Ramos noted that the Republican candidate had agreed to give the network 35 minutes, and that Obama had agreed to a full hour the next night....
Romney took issue with the anchors beginning the broadcast that way, said Salinas, and he refused to go on stage until they re-taped the introduction. (One Republican present at the taping said Romney "threw a tantrum.")