Photo of Mitt Romney by Mallory Benedict/ PBS NewsHour.
TAMPA, Fla. | The delegates in the convention hall here seemed plenty pleased as thousands of balloons descended from the ceiling. But Mitt Romney wasn’t really talking to them.
At the culmination of a convention designed to re-introduce the presidential nominee to the American people, Romney issued a call to the people in the middle, the ones who might have backed his rival four years ago.
He gently chastised campaign rhetoric and promises President Obama made when taking office, and portrayed himself as the determined and competent leader who can turn the country around.
Here’s the money section attempting to win over people frustrated with the president:
>”[F]or too many Americans, these good days are harder to come by. How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?
“Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. 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? 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.
“The president hasn’t disappointed you because he wanted to. The president has disappointed America because he hasn’t led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.
“I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience.”
Watch Romney’s full speech:
The rest of the evening, the program showcased humanizing stories from every element of his record, from how he ran his government in Massachusetts to his charitable giving through the Mormon church.
In speech after speech, former colleagues and the people who know Romney best depicted a man with a big heart who is too humble to brag. His friends and family repeatedly referenced Romney as “cheap,” with one of his sons pointing out the tinfoil the candidate uses in the kitchen to cover an ill-fitting light bulb.
If you missed the family-focused biography video played before Romney was introduced, you can watch it here or below:
How did the speech play in the states that will be critical this fall? Here are just a few of the headlines from battleground state papers:
- The Denver Post: “Time to Restore the Promise of America” || Romney says we need jobs, that he will create 12 million
- The Orlando Sentinel: Romney takes the reins || Nominee vows prosperity, says Obama must go
- The Richmond Times Dispatch: Romney makes his case, promises jobs
- The Columbus Dispatch: All about jobs
The Associated Press reported on Nielsen ratings for the networks, and found vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gave a bump to young viewership the night he spoke.
The Obama campaign put out this web video going after what Romney didn’t say in his acceptance speech.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT…
The NewsHour’s convention coverage of Romney included a report from Gwen Ifill from Boston on how Romney was able to pass health care reform.
Watch that here or below.
In the skybox, Gwen and Judy Woodruff, along with analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks, hosted some of the speakers including Romney’s eldest son Tagg. We’ll post video of that conversation shortly.
And you can watch Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s speech:
Our livestream is taking a breather for now, but we’ll let you know when it’s back in action for the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, N.C.
- Gwen, Judy, Mark and David talked with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour Thursday night in the skybox. He offered a frank assessment of what Romney needs to do to win.
- Where do you fit in the political spectrum? Take the Pew Research Center/NewsHour Political Party ID quiz and share the results with your friends.
- Using the Vote 2012 Map Center, NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan and politics editor Christina Bellantoni outlined a potential Romney path to victory.
- Christina, Gwen and Judy kicked things off Thursday with the Political Checklist.
- Hari, Mark and David diced up convention events in the Doubleheader.
- Former speechwriter Michael Gerson talked about what goes into a major speech.
- And Christina will be on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday. Be sure to tune in.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 31, 2012
Enjoyed going on PBS newshour tonight. Cool views of the stage behind instagr.am/p/O9_mbGkLpJ/
— Tagg Romney (@tromney) August 30, 2012
— gwen ifill (@pbsgwen) August 31, 2012
That screaming you hear backstage is poor Clint, when they told him Mitt wants U.S.to stay in Afghanistan INDEFINITELY.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 31, 2012
Newt Gingrich just challenged Clint’s empty chair to a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) August 31, 2012
BEST OF THE WEB
- The Los Angeles Times reports, “The Pentagon formally warned a former Navy SEAL who has written a first-person account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year, saying he has violated his signed agreement not to divulge classified information, and it threatened him with stiff legal action.”
- Former Newt Gingrich aide Rick Tyler has signed on to be Rep. Todd Akin’s spokesman, Politico reports.
- The New York Times found some inaccuracies in Ryan’s speech.
ON THE TRAIL
- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan hold a rally in Lakeland, Fla., at 10 a.m. ET and hold a 2 p.m. rally in Richmond, Va. On Saturday, Romney holds a solo rally at 10:15 a.m. in Cincinnati.
- Vice President Biden speaks at UAW Local 1714 in Lordstown, Ohio, at 11 a.m.
- President Obama holds a closed press roundtable talk with military families and service members in Fort Bliss, Texas, at 12:15 p.m. He addresses troops there at 1 p.m.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.