Romney makes his case: ‘Need jobs, lots of jobs’
DetailsCreated on Friday, 31 August 2012 01:35 Hits: 900
David Espo and Robert Furlow
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — CB - Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House in a Republican National Convention finale Thursday night, declaring “what America needs is jobs, lots of jobs” and promising he has a plan to create 12 million of them.
“Now is the time to restore the promise of America,” Romney said in excerpts released in advance of his prime-time speech to a nation struggling with 8.3 percent unemployment and the slowest economic recovery in decades.
“Many Americans have given up on this president, but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves, not on each other. And not on America,” Romney said.
He muted his criticism in the advance excerpts of President Barack Obama, his quarry in a close and unpredictable race for the White House.
“I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed,” he said. “But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.
“This isn’t something we have to accept,” he said, appealing to millions of voters who say they are disappointed in the president yet haven’t yet decided to cast their votes for his Republican challenger.
“Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, ‘I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better! My country deserves better!’”
More than the political hoopla, the evening marked one of a very few opportunities any presidential challenger is granted to appeal to millions of voters in a single night.
The two-month campaign to come includes other big moments — principally a series of one-on-one debates with Democrat Obama — in a race for the White House that has been close for months. In excess of $500 million has been spent on campaign television commercials so far, almost all of it in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
Romney holds a fundraising advantage over Obama, and his high command hopes to expand the electoral map soon if post-convention polls in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and perhaps elsewhere indicate it’s worth the investment. In a speech that blended the political and the personal, Romney talked in his excerpts of the importance of the love he felt from his parents and that he and his wife Ann have sought to give their children and grandchildren.
“All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers,” he said.
The economy is issue No. 1 in the race for the White House, and Romney presented his credentials as the man better equipped than the president to help create jobs.
“When I was 37, I helped start a small company,” he said. “That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story.”
Romney’s aides scripted a closing-night program that included a video tribute to Ronald Reagan, the two-term president still revered by conservatives. Delegates cheered when his voice filled the hall.
It was designed, as well to fill out a portrait of the GOP nominee as a successful businessman, last-minute savior for a troubled 2002 Olympics and a man of family and faith. A portion of the convention podium was rebuilt overnight so he would appear surrounded by delegates rather than speaking from a distance, an attempt to soften his image as a stiff and distant candidate.
Romney knows the value of the dollar, delegates were assured.
“When I told him about Staples, he really got excited at the idea of saving a few cents on paperclips,” businessman Tom Stemberg said of the office supply store chain he founded with backing from Bain Capital, the private equity firm the presidential nominee co-founded.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, sharing the stage with his wife, Callista, said Obama was a president in the Jimmy Carter mold. Both “took our nation down a path that in four years weakened America’s confidence in itself and our hope for a better future,” he said.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that “in the fourth year of a presidency, a real leader would accept responsibility” for failed policies. “President Obama hasn’t done that.”