Romney offers Reaganesque themes in defining speech

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Romney and Family, RNC (AP Photo)

Romney and Family, RNC (AP Photo)

TAMPA, Florida (CNN) — Mitt Romney accepted the Republican nomination for president on Thursday night by asking voters to choose between what he called unfulfilled promises of President Barack Obama and his promise to restore America’s greatness.

In the most important political speech of his life, Romney evoked themes and imagery of GOP icon Ronald Reagan in describing to a cheering Republican National Convention a future of opportunity and promise for the nation.

He recalled the excitement of the country in electing Obama four years ago, saying the president’s campaign theme of “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?” Romney asked. “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.”

Romney said that while his own patriotism caused him to hope Obama would succeed, “his promises gave way to disappointment and division.”

“This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something,” he said. “Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, ‘I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!'”

The prime-time, nationally televised address concluded the storm-shortened convention that sought to galvanize the conservative Republican base behind Romney and frame the upcoming election as a referendum on Obama’s presidency.

When Romney finished, clouds of red, white and blue balloons floated down as his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, joined him on stage, followed quickly by their wives and families amid the cheers and confetti.

Protesters briefly interrupted Romney early in the speech, with one shouting “people over profits” in reference to the multimillionaire former businessman’s career in private equity. The crowd shouted “U.S.A, U.S.A” to drown them out, and one was removed after a brief scuffle.

Ryan energized the convention on Wednesday night with a powerful attack on Obama that championed conservative principles. On Thursday, speakers including Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood laid the foundation for Romney’s highly anticipated speech that was intended to provide Americans just tuning in to the election campaign with an introduction to the man and candidate.

Source: CNN NewsWire