Romney Time in Tampa

Posted August 30th, 2012 at 5:16 pm (UTC+0)


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tunes up for his speech to the party nominating convention Aug. 30, for speaking the day before, Aug. 29, at an American Legion gathering in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo: AP

No doubt about it, this is the most important speech of Mitt Romney’s political life, at least so far.  On his second try for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, a disciplined Mitt Romney took on one conservative challenger after another this year and emerged victorious.  For the second election cycle in a row, a Republican Party that is moving to the right has nominated someone with moderate roots.

This party may never come to love Mitt Romney, but he is their standard bearer now and party operatives will apply maximum pressure to make sure the rank and file party faithful get behind Mr. Romney, even if it’s only because they’ll do anything do defeat President Obama.


Big Moment But Will He Step Up?

Mr. Romney has been building toward this moment for decades and like so many politicians, it began with defeats.  In fact, most of the truly successful national politicians usually have one early defeat on their resume, and those defeats often provide valuable insights down the road.

Mitt Romney took on Democratic icon Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1994 and even though he lost, he made a favorable enough impression with some voters that he was able to win the state’s race for governor in 2002.  Four years ago, though well financed and organized, Mr. Romney lost out to John McCain and learned some tough lessons about what it takes to appeal to the conservative base of the Republican Party, especially for a former moderate from Massachusetts.

But even hardcore Republicans here in Tampa acknowledge that the Romney acceptance speech has to be more than just a bashing President Barack Obama’s economic record and a laundry list of what the Republican candidate would do as president.

More than any time in his political career, Mitt Romney has to pull back the curtain and let Americans see more of who he really is, what he stands for in his core, and why they should entrust him with the highest office in the land.


Ryan as Attack Dog

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan made his national debut as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate Wednesday with a partisan speech that got the delegates up on their feet several times.  Ryan is used to the partisan thrust and parry of the House of Representatives, but he’s on a bigger stage now and most voters have yet to form an opinion about him, something both parties will work on for sure.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan gets party members on their feet cheering Aug. 29 by criticizing President Barack Obama. Photo: AP

Ryan got off some good lines about the disappointment many people feel about President Obama’s economic record and really roused the conservative base in the room with his aggressive attacks on government spending and the need to cut the deficit.  But Democrats have been hammering Ryan about what they say are some misleading and false attacks in his speech.

One that may be tough for him to defend is a suggestion in his speech that the president was responsible for the closing of General Motors auto plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, in December of 2008.  Problem with that is Mr. Obama didn’t take the oath of office until January 20th, 2009.  Oops.

Ryan is a fresh face among the GOP faithful this year and could have a bright future no matter which way the election goes in November.  But a big part of his task in the weeks ahead will be to serve as Mitt Romney’s main attack dog, and that role always carries peril for an ambitious politician looking to build a national constituency.

2 responses to “Romney Time in Tampa”

  1. […] convention speechLos Angeles TimesRomney Prepares to Take StageWall Street JournalReuters -Voice of America (blog) -CNN Internationalall 21,328 news […]

  2. Delia Ferro says:

    I just want to let you know that even though I’am citizens of USA, I was very proud of last night speeches, especially Ms. Condoleezza Rice and Paul Ryan. As single mother, I am very proud that my son was born in USA. He had a dream since he was six years old to go “GATOR LAND,” and he did. He enrolled in the ROTC (Army). He will going be oversea in December 20,2012, to represent USA. I am so proud of him. I wish I had the money to be able to become USA Citizens, I have tried to become one because being a single mother has been very hard. I wish the best in this election.

Jim Malone

Jim Malone

After a stint in the Peace Corps in Swaziland, Jim joined VOA in 1983 as a reporter and anchor on English broadcasts to Africa.  He served as East Africa correspondent, then covered Congress in the early 1990’s.   Since 1995, Jim has served as VOA national correspondent responsible for coverage of U.S. politics, elections, the Supreme Court and Justice Department.  Jim has been involved in VOA’s election coverage since the 1984 presidential campaign and has co-anchored live VOA broadcasts of numerous national political conventions, candidate debates and election night coverage.


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