Friday, May 24, 2013
Kennebec Journal Staff
The biggest moment of his political career at hand, Romney looked to appeal to the feelings of anxiety that are rippling through the electorate as the nation faces stubbornly high unemployment and fears about its future place in the world.
"Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama?" Romney said as he formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night. "You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him."
In 2008, Obama swept to victory with a message of hope and change -- and as the first black person to earn the nomination of a major party, his candidacy was historic. He won in states like Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina, turning out African Americans and excited young people in record numbers.
To win, Romney needs to convince some of those voters that "hope and change" didn't really work out -- and that he is the man to fix the problem.
"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," he said. "But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.
"To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: If Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right," Romney said.
Romney took the stage as 10:30 p.m., shouting to the roaring crowd, "Mr. Chairman and delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States."
"Now is the time to restore the promise of America," Romney said to a nation struggling with 8.3 percent unemployment and the slowest economic recovery in decades.
He told the crowd that a united American can unleash the economy.
Romney was introduced by Florida Senator Mark Rubio, who told the crowd he watched his first Republican convention in 1980 with his grandfather, who came to America from Cuba.
"For those of us who were born and raised in this country, it's easy to forget how special America is," Rubio said. "But my grandfather understood how different America is from the rest of the world, because he knew what life was like outside America."
He called Romney "a devoted husband, father and grandfather. A generous member of his community and church."
"Everywhere he's been, he's volunteered his time and talent to make things better for those around him," Rubio said.
In a personal and impassioned speech, Rubio said, "No matter how you feel about President Obama, this election is about your future, not his. And it's not simply a choice between a Democrat and a Republican.
"It"s a choice about what kind of country we want America to be."
Romney's remarks came after other speakers filled out a week-long portrait of the GOP nominee as a man of family and faith, savvy and successful in business, savior of the 2002 Winter Olympics, yet careful with a buck. A portion of the convention stage was rebuilt overnight so he would appear surrounded by delegates rather than speaking from a distance, an attempt to soften his image as a sometimes-stiff and distant candidate.
"He shoveled snow and raked leaves for the elderly. He took down tables and swept floors at church dinners," said Grant Bennett, describing Romney's volunteer work as an unpaid lay clergy leader in the Mormon church.
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