TAMPA, FLORIDA, USA - Mitt Romney officially accepted the nomination for president of The United States of America this Thursday evening and then concluded the truncated Republican National Convention (RNC) with his acceptance speech. It was, according to most political pundits on either side of the aisle, his best speech ever. Nevertheless, those same pundits disagreed on whether it packed the necessary punch needed to carry Romney to victory in November.
Romney has admitted in the past that public speaking is not his strong suit, and that his business acumen is what sets him apart. He is a business man, a CEO. But on this night he delivered his introductory acceptance speech with passion and energy. Many questions remain as to whether it will give him the bounce he needs to overcome the slight lead Democrat Barack Obama has in the national polls. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) begins next Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Obama's refined oratorical skills are sure to be on display.
Romney's chief task was to introduce himself to many Americans who have yet to discover who he is, and at this he may have succeeded. He outlined his family, his faith and his principles in the first two thirds of the speech, but things seemed to take on a darker tone in the final act. He began by retelling his own personal story, how his father went from nothing to make a run at the presidency in 1968, to Mitt's own beginnings at Bain Capital, which is the highly successful company he founded. The story of his mother and his wife were the highlights of the speech. Romney even became slightly choked up when recounting them, and some delegates wept openly.
In the final ten to fifteen minutes of what was a forty minute speech, Romney began throwing 'red meat' to the most conservative members of his party, and many of the things he said may not sit well with the rest of the world. He stated that whenever the world needed something great to be done, an American had done it. In addition, he mentioned getting tougher with Russia, China, and Iran. He then went on to criticise Obama for trying to make America more like the rest of the world rather than having the rest of the world become more like America.
The energy in the convention hall was adequate, but by no means did it raise the roof or rattle the rafters. Romney accomplished his goal of introducing himself to America and the world.
The Republican Party is also known as the GOP, which is short for the 'Grand Old Party'. Romney's speech, and for the many that preceded his over the last couple of days, will surely be blasted by the Democrats for being heavy on rhetoric and light on details. A few of the 'Independent' electorate that this reporter spoke to in Tampa shortly after the speech said as much. For them, this GOP convention lacked the 'grand' or the 'party' (Hurricane Isaac may be to blame), but it did not lack in the 'old'. For many of the people on the streets, this speech, this convention, this election, is about whether America wants to continue down this path that Obama has led it, to see its final destination and fruition or to go back to the old ideas of his predecessor George W. Bush, which many feel are the foundation for this nation's current crisis. Namely, these are more tax cuts, smaller government, a powerful military, fewer entitlements and a higher emphasis on religion in everyday life.
On a side note, in one of the most bizarre scenes that this reporter had seen in over 25 years of election coverage, Clint Eastwood gave a speech less than an hour before Mitt Romney's that was befuddling, confusing, and at points incoherent. The Republican Party has already begun distancing themselves from the 82 year old actor/director's comments, which were rambling and a disservice to the office of the President of the United States.