As festive GOP nominates Romney, Ann promises success

 

McClatchy Newspapers

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 children’s children.” She spoke of how people think she and Mitt have a storybook marriage. It’s 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 one’s fellow man. From the time we were first married, I’ve 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. "It’s 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 let’s be honest. If the last four years had been more successful, do we really think there would be this attack on Mitt Romney’s 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 family’s 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 that’s 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 he’s touted during his White House bid. And the convention armed him with an unusually conservative platform that has already stirred bitter debate.

Picking Ryan, 42, the Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman, has helped immensely, as Romney and Ryan easily won majorities of the 2,286 delegates.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who served as President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff, formally nominated Romney. His state, which his son once represented in the U.S. Senate, is considered a swing state in November.

“We’re saddled with a failed presidency with an incumbent president who has not led,” Sununu told a crowd that seemed more absorbed in conversation. He got little applause.

Sununu would pause, waiting for cheers that rarely came, with lines like, “There are many reasons America needs Mitt Romney at the helm. Barack Obama can’t figure out what makes the private sector work.”

The mood Tuesday was sometimes businesslike, sometimes festive.

Before Ann Romney and Christie spoke, the speech that most got the crowd on its feet came from Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama.

“There are Americans who voted for the president, but who are searching right now, because they know that their votes didn’t build the country they wanted,” Davis said. “To those Democrats and independents whose minds are open to argument: listen closely to the Democratic Party that will gather in Charlotte and ask yourself if you ever hear your voice in the clamor.”

Throughout the day and evening, delegates heard dozens of speeches sounding the same message and quietly adopted a party platform that Democrats are eager to attack.

That platform, when combined with the one Democrats are expected to adopt next week at their convention, will provide voters with the starkest ideological choice they’ve had in a generation. A new Pew Research Center survey found more people were interested in the Republican Party platform than in Romney’s Thursday night acceptance speech.

Some party leaders are concerned.

“If it was up to me, I’d put the platform on one sheet of paper. Have you ever met anyone who read it?” asked House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican, at a meeting with reporters. “I would put it on one page so that the American people would read it. They might.”

Democrats are focused, particularly on the section on abortion. “We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it,” the platform says.

Romney has said he backs abortion in the case of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is threatened.

Some delegates worried that the plank, which Democrats have been aggressively criticizing, could cause trouble throughout the fall.

“It already has made it harder for us, and will until people wake up and stop bringing this up every four years,” said Frank Simpson of Cumming, Ga., who runs a cheese company.

But Bill Drout, a Spring, Texas, software consultant, argued that voters would appreciate the party’s stand on principle.

“I don’t mean to diminish the seriousness of the crime of rape,” Drout said. “We should make the penalties more serious. But either you believe life in life or you don’t.”

Bonnie Hersman figured that the platform’s issues will be overwhelmed by less tangible factors. “West Virginia voters go with their hearts in a presidential election, and they pick who moves them,” she said.

Romney has never been a big favorite with conservatives, but many delegates said the addition of Ryan gave them new energy.

“I’m a lot more enthusiastic now that he’s chosen Paul Ryan. Ryan knows the language of conservatives,” said Jorge Landiver, an internet company owner from Arlington, Texas.

Democrats remained active during the Republican convention. Obama kicked off a two-day tour of college campuses Tuesday, his campaign downplaying questions about the propriety of campaigning during his opponent’s convention – and with a storm nearing the Gulf Coast.

Before he left for the trip, Obama delivered brief remarks at the White House, telling residents in the Gulf to heed the warnings of local emergency officials. And he opened his remarks at Iowa State University by noting that it was “important to say that our thoughts are with our fellow Americans down on the Gulf.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed a question of whether the image of campaigning during a storm was bad, saying, “The president is president every day,” and noting that he’d be getting briefings on the status of the storm and the federal response throughout the trip.

Lesley Clark of the Washington Bureau contributed.

Email:dlightman@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter:@lightmandavid

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
FILE - In this March 8, 2010 file photo, US Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah Jones is seen in Kuwait City. On Saturday, July 26, 2014,The United States shut down its embassy in Libya and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said.  On Sunday, July 20, 2014, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones tweeted about “heavy shelling and other exchanges” of fire in the vicinity of the embassy.

    US evacuates embassy in Libya amid clashes

    The United States shuttered its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort as fighting intensified between rival militias. Secretary of State John Kerry said "free-wheeling militia violence" prompted the move.

  •  
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the economy at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in Los Angeles, Thursday, July 24, 2014, on the final day of his three-day West Coast trip. Striking a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, Obama is demanding "economic patriotism" from American corporations that seek overseas mergers to avoid U.S. taxes. Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing to severely limit such deals, a move resisted by Republicans who argue the entire corporate tax code needs an overhaul.

    Obama: Offshore 'tax inversions' are unpatriotic

    President Barack Obama says a loophole that lets companies dodge U.S. taxes by moving their headquarters overseas is unpatriotic.

  •  
FOR RELEASE SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014, AT 12:01 A.M. EDT - This combination of campaign provided photos and staff photos shows Congressional candidates in the 2014 Michigan primary election. Top row, from left, are Tom Whitmire, Fred Upton, Douglas Radcliffe North, and Tim Walberg. Bottom row, from left, are Mike Bishop, Tom McMillin, Ken Darga and Susan Grettenberger.

    Michigan primary is start of US House shakeup

    Michigan primary voters will begin determining what could be one of the bigger shake-ups in the state's congressional delegation in years, a revamp that could become even larger if business-supported Republican challengers can topple tea party-backed congressmen.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category