Romney confirmed as rival for White House against Obama

Romney confirmed as rival for White House against Obama

TAMPA, Florida
Romney confirmed as rival for White House against Obama

Mitt Romney (C) watches as his wife, Ann Romney (3rd L) and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2nd R) stand and applaud during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. AFP photo

As expected, Republicans bestowed their presidential nomination on Mitt Romney, marking the former Massachusetts governor and multi-millionaire businessman as their hope for driving Barack Obama from the White House and ushering in a new era of small-government conservatism.

With Romney’s nomination now official and Obama’s assured at next week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. voters will face a clear-cut clash of ideologies. Romney is conservative on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion, favors cutting taxes, slashing the government and repealing Obama’s signature health care overhaul. Obama is liberal on social issues, wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and sees government as a potential force for good. Romney lies neck-and-neck with Obama in national polls ahead of the November election.

Romney took to the stage at the packed convention center in Tampa, Florida to proffer a polite thank you kiss to his wife Ann Romney as part of a carefully choreographed attempt to reintroduce the sometimes awkward candidate as a loving family man.

The 65-year-old multi-millionaire businessman will formally take up the nomination with his all-important acceptance speech today. Romney’s campaign has been eager to promote the gregarious, 63-year-old Ann as a conveyer of the family story, a mission intended to humanize a candidate who trails Obama badly in terms of likability and can come across as stiff.

She delivered her side of the bargain, blending a targeted pitch to vital women voters with a personal narrative about her husband that dwelt largely on their all-American love story, their wholesome family and his winning attitude.
“This man will not fail,” Ann Romney said, staring in determined fashion right at the lens in an address beamed live into American living rooms just 10 weeks before voters go to the polls. “This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America!” After a series of wealth-related gaffes during the campaign, she invoked their love story as high school sweethearts as she sought to portray them as an everyday couple who shared hardships just like other Americans. “It has been 47 years since that tall, kind of charming young man brought me home from our first dance. Not every day since has been easy. But he still makes me laugh,” she said.

Lowest favorability rating

“You can trust Mitt... He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance.” But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released recently found that Romney still lags behind Obama in favorability, with 40 percent of Americans viewing him “favorably overall” and 51 percent view him as “unfavorable.” That’s considerably worse than Obama, who enjoys a 50-47 percent favorable rating, and Romney’s is the lowest favorability rating of any major party nominee at the time of the convention since at least 1984, pollsters said.

Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney’s vice presidential running mate, was scheduled to speak yesterday. While Republicans gathered in Florida, Obama campaigned in Iowa and Colorado as he set out on a tour of college campuses in hopes of boosting voter registration among college students, who tend to support him. Before departing the White House, he made a point of appearing before reporters to announce the government’s latest steps to help those in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac. He signed a declaration of emergency for Mississippi and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local storm response efforts in the state.