Republicans nominate Mitt Romney for president
TAMPA, Florida - The Associated Press
In a Jan. 3, 2012 file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney applauds after addressing a crowd of supporters with his wife Ann and their sons Matt, Josh, Craig and Tagg behind him during a Romney for President Iowa Caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa. AP photoRepublican delegates on Tuesday nominated Mitt Romney as their pick to unseat President Barack Obama, formalizing their choice of a candidate who is widely perceived as the one best suited to restore the economy, the top issue for voters.
The result of the roll call of states was not a surprise: Romney locked up the nomination in May following a series of state-by-state primary elections and caucuses. Still, it finally gave him the prize that eluded him four years ago. Romney is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination in a speech Thursday night.
Conventions are among the most closely watched events in the campaign, allowing the candidates to lay out their visions directly to millions of television viewers and marking the start of the final stretch in the marathon presidential race.
The Republican gathering, followed by next week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, comes as opinion polls show the presidential race about even, with each candidate possessing distinct and important advantages: Obama is the more likable or empathetic leader; Romney is a former businessman more highly regarded as the candidate who can fix the economy.
Polls have shown that the election will probably be decided by a razor-thin margin, with voters casting ballots primarily on their views of which candidate can create more jobs and boost the slow U.S. economic recovery.
The convention, originally scheduled over four days, was cut down to a three-day affair because of the threat from what is now Hurricane Isaac. Monday’s planned opening was symbolic and over in minutes.
Isaac could rain down on a wide swathe of the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, around the same time Romney’s wife, Ann, speaks to the convention Tuesday night. Her mission is to show a more personal side of a candidate the Obama campaign has tried to paint as a big-business titan out of touch with the struggles of average Americans.
Romney will attend her speech, Ann Romney confirmed to reporters Tuesday morning. "It’s going to be fun for him to be there." Mitt Romney makes his own speech Thursday.
Isaac’s arrival ashore near New Orleans resurrected the ghost of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city and killed 1,800 people exactly seven years ago. The slow response to the chaos put the presidency of Republican George W. Bush into a downward political spiral.
Trying to balance leadership with campaigning, Obama delivered a brief update on Isaac from the White House before leaving on a three-state trip. "Now is not the time to tempt fate," he warned the public. "You need to take this seriously."
At his first stop in Iowa, Obama returned to concerns about the approaching storm, telling a student audience at Iowa State University that Americans would "help our neighbors in need."
In the same remarks, Obama castigated Republicans, saying their convention "should be a pretty entertaining show. ... But what you won’t hear from them is a path forward that meets the challenges of our time."
Meanwhile, Republican leaders will try to convince Americans that Obama is a failed president, unable to keep his promise to restore economic vitality and reduce stubbornly high unemployment - still at 8.3 percent three years after the Great Recession.
Republicans have been increasingly energized and influenced by the anti-tax, small-government tea party movement, whose members tend to see political moderation and compromise as akin to betrayal. Romney thrilled conservatives by naming one of their favorites, congressman Paul Ryan, as his vice presidential running mate.
Romney’s acceptance speech Thursday night will be the highlight of the convention. Ryan delivers his acceptance speech Wednesday.
Democrats were also on the ground in Tampa to fight the Republican message. Los Angeles Major Antonio Villaraigosa said Republican efforts to use Latino speakers at the convention to win over Hispanic voters won’t work.
"You can’t just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people are going to vote for your party or your candidate," he said. "Window dressing doesn’t do much for a candidate. It’s your policies, your platform."
Democrats hold their convention next week. Obama and his party will intensify attacks on Romney’s business experience, claiming that the private equity firm he once headed, Bain Capital, made a fortune for investors while bankrupting some companies and laying off workers.