TAMPA, Fla. -- Republicans on Tuesday nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as their 2012 White House ticket and celebrated by reveling in a surprise convention appearance by their freshly minted presidential candidate to embrace his wife on the podium.
Ann Romney had just finished a speech full of frank talk from my heart about her deep and abiding love for a man I met at a dance 43 years ago.
She told the hushed crowd about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it the love we have for our children and our childrens children. She spoke of how people think she and Mitt have a storybook marriage. Its not that simple, Romney said.
In the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once, she said, as the crowd laughed. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer.
Ann Romney has endured both.
She calmly continued her narrative. A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage, she said, as the crowd rose to its feet and applauded.
I know this good and decent man for what he is warm and loving and patient. He has tried to live his life with a set of values centered on family, faith, and love of ones fellow man. From the time we were first married, Ive seen him spend countless hours helping others.
She also was vehement that her husband knows how to succeed. "No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live," Ann Romney said. "Its true that Mitt has been successful at each new challenge he has taken on. It amazes me to see his history of success actually being attacked."
She added, "And lets be honest. If the last four years had been more successful, do we really think there would be this attack on Mitt Romneys success? Of course not."
When she was done, the loudspeakers boomed the Temptations My Girl, and Mitt Romney walked out from the wings, hugged and kissed his wife and waved to the crowd.
She was followed by keynote speaker Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who spoke of his familys immigrant roots and his vision for this country.
We are the great-grandchildren of men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity; the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation; the sons and daughters of immigrants; the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes, he said.
The Democrats plan, Christie charged, is to whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power when they fall.
His address ended the first major day of the convention, a nine-hour affair stuffed with speeches that had been postponed from Monday, when Tropical Storm Isaac now Hurricane Isaac was threatening the region.
The convention delegates, sensing a good chance of defeating President Barack Obama, were eager to celebrate.
The triumph of Romney, 65, is the latest chapter in his five-year quest for the presidency, a journey thats rarely been smooth. Even Tuesday, the former Massachusetts governor, once viewed as a moderate eager to find common ground with Democrats, faced questions from the rank and file about his loyalty to the conservative views hes touted during his White House bid. And the convention armed him with an unusually conservative platform that has already stirred bitter debate.