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Romney-Ryan Ticket Try to Build on Momentum from Republican Convention

August 31, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan headed back onto the campaign trail after the Republican National Convention came to a close. Romney continued to woo voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and Ryan stayed on the attack, aggressively pointing out what he sees as the failed efforts of President Obama. Jeffrey Brown reports.
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JEFFREY BROWN: With the convention over, Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan officially launched into the general election campaign today. And President Obama and Vice President Biden moved to answer the challenge and make ready for their own party gathering.

On the morning after, the Romney-Ryan team came together in Lakeland, Fla., to thank the state for hosting the Republican’s big party.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis: What a great convention, huh? Man!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JEFFREY BROWN: The vice presidential nominee stayed on the attack, drawing on a line from his convention speech.

REP. PAUL RYAN: College grads shouldn’t spend their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, looking up at fading Obama posters wondering when they can move out and get on with their lives.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JEFFREY BROWN: The man at the top of the ticket also renewed a theme from his speech, winning over former supporters of the president.

MITT ROMNEY (R): I need to have you do the work on November 6 that gets me elected the next president of the United States. That has to happen here in Florida.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MITT ROMNEY: And for that to happen, you are going to have to go out and find a person or two who voted for Barack Obama. I know they’re here. All right, they’re not as visible as they used to be. You can see some of the glue on the back of their bumper sticker where it used to be. And so you can find them, but you find them and convince them to get on our team.

JEFFREY BROWN: Romney then made a change to his schedule and diverted to Louisiana to survey Hurricane Isaac storm damage with Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

MITT ROMNEY: I’m here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what’s going on here, so that people around the country know that folks here need help.

JEFFREY BROWN: It was all part of building on hoped-for momentum from the convention, which last night focused on Mitt Romney, the man and the leader. Friends gave testimonials to his many unpublicized works and acts of kindness.

Pam Finlayson spoke of Romney’s repeated help when her daughter struggled with health problems.

PAM FINLAYSON, Romney family friend: As I sat with her in intensive care, consumed with a mother’s worry and fear, dear Mitt came to visit and pray with me.

JEFFREY BROWN: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio painted Romney as a candidate who’s lived the American dream.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-Fla.: America has always been about new beginnings, and Mitt Romney is running for president because he knows that if we are willing to do for our children what our parents did for us, life in America can be better than it has ever been.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CLINT EASTWOOD, filmmaker: When somebody doesn’t do the job, we have got to let him go.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JEFFREY BROWN: No doubt the most unusual and most discussed speech of the evening came from its surprise guest, legendary actor Clint Eastwood, who gave an unscripted talk that included several offbeat moments, including addressing an imaginary President Obama sitting in an empty chair.

CLINT EASTWOOD: What do you want me to tell Romney? I can’t tell him to do that. He can’t do that to himself. You’re crazy. You are absolutely crazy.

(LAUGHTER)

JEFFREY BROWN: The headliner, of course, was the nominee himself, who spoke of a president who began his term with great fanfare and hope, but delivered only disappointment.

MITT ROMNEY: Today, four years from the excitement of that last election, for the first time the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future. It’s not what we were promised.

JEFFREY BROWN: For their part, the Democratic ticket was having none of it.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Hello, Lordstown!

JEFFREY BROWN: Visiting auto workers in Lordstown, Ohio, Vice President Biden pushed back on several claims made by the Republicans at the convention.

JOE BIDEN: They talk about extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Right? It’s cost a trillion dollars over 10 years to do that. But let me tell you where it goes. These are facts. I will say it in front all the press — $500 billion of the tax cuts will go to 120,000 families.

Seriously now, $500 billion, half-a-trillion dollars, to 120,000 families. And, by the way, I’m sure they are decent, I’m sure they’re patriotic, but I’m also sure they don’t need it.

JEFFREY BROWN: And, at Fort Bliss, Tex., today, President Obama underscored his role as a leader as the nation’s commander in chief, speaking to troops on the two-year anniversary of the U.S. pullout from Iraq.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We’re winding down a decade of war. We’re destroying terrorist networks that attacked us. And we have restored American leadership. And, today, every American can be proud that the United States is safer, the United States is stronger and the United States is more respected in the world.

JEFFREY BROWN: The president will make his own trip to the Gulf on Monday to survey the hurricane damage and cleanup. On Tuesday, he and his party have a chance to make their case to the country at their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.