Politics

Departing delegates loved Romney’s speech

Departing delegates loved Romney's speech

TAMPA, Fla.—As Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York closed the Republican National Convention with his benediction and delegates streamed out of the convention center to nearby hotels and waiting buses, there was only one topic of conversation: Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech, or in the conversation tones of the exiting Republicans, “that speech.”

Republicans who heard the former Massachusetts governor and accept his party’s nomination for president came away excited with the words of their presidential candidate

“Great—just great!” is how Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) characterized Romney’s address, “We know him better now and where he wants to lead us as a nation. That’s what he had to do and he did it.” Wilson, who began the campaign year as South Carolina chairman for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, ended up voting for Newt Gingrich in his state’s presidential primary.

Norm Shinkle, GOP chairman of Ingham County (Lansing) in Michigan, told us “Mitt has been getting better as a speaker over months on the campaign trail. Tonight, he showed a wonderful delivery of thoughts and ideas. He was fair as well as aggressive toward Obama.”

Several delegates we spoke to noticed that, along with his call for a fresh economic agenda, he spoke of cultural issues such as abortion and marriage and of a harder line with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He touch all the bases—economic, cultural, national security,” Jim Herring, former Mississippi Republican chairman, told Human Events. “His delivery was down-to-earth and effective. I’d say it’s a watershed moment in the campaign.”

Even past opponents of Romney within the Republican Party came away with fresh enthusiasm for the candidate they had strongly opposed a few months ago. Joseph Cella, political director for Rick Santorum’s campaign in the bitterly-fought Michigan primary, spoke for many when he said: “Some of us had disagreements with Gov. Romney—minor things. Tonight, he gave us all a clarion call for all delegates here. He was telling us to dig deep in the trenches in the months ahead.”

Walking into the convention center before earlier in the evening, Jan Goldsmith, city attorney of San Diego and former state legislator, told Human Events that “Mitt needs to be himself. I know one of his sons well, and I’ve spent time with him. Too many candidates try to emulate Ronald Reagan, just as Democrats try to be like John F. Kennedy. You just have to be yourself. If Mitt’s himself, people will like him.”

Mitt Romney’s speech was not Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call for a “New Deal” in Chicago in 1932 or Ronald Reagan’s vision of a better America in Detroit in 1980. That wasn’t what he needed to be, but in his Tampa address, Romney clearly demonstrated who he was and gave a good idea what he would do as president. That was more than enough to fire up conventioneers to work hard this fall to elect him over Barack Obama.

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