RNC Thursday Evening
Edition August 30
Exclusive to the LEHIGH ACRES GAZETTE
From Dick Allen, Political Analyst, Chicago, IL
“We Believe In America”, the signage all-around the convention center read, obviously it is this evening’s theme. The stage had been modified for Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech. There wasn’t an empty seat on the floor, nor was it easy to find a seat in the balcony. Tonight the delegates from Florida were truly excited as they will get to hear their own U.S. Rep. Connie Mack who is running for the Senate and the former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, who was thought to be in the running for the Vice President’s spot on the ticket.
Speaker John Bonner called the final session to order and the U.S. Central Command Joint Forces Color Guard presented the colors. The Florida delegation did not have to wait along as Connie Mack was the first speaker. He was followed by another one of those standing ovation videos, this one featured President Ronald Reagan. It was obvious that he is still the most favored President of the party. Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista spoke before just before Jeb Bush who received a long, warm, standing ovation from the delegates. His prepared remarks centered around education. But he went off script surprising everyone as he forcefully told Obama, “Stop blaming others.”
This night was dedicated to learning who and what Mitt Romney was all about. It would be filled with personal testimonials and emotional stories about Mitt Romney’s Influence on their lives, all coming from ordinary people – not politicians, people who were not accomplish speakers but they struck every nerve in the hall. They told stories of business development, building and growth, stories about families and struggles. Stories from Olympians causing the delegates to rise to their feet shouting that all-too-familiar USA… USA. Stories not just about Romney simply saving the Olympic Games, but rather about saving the face and reputation of America and the dreams of athletes before the whole world. I saw tears in the eyes delegates as they waived American flags shouting – USA… USA! There were men and women, Blacks and Whites, Hispanics, Democrats, and of members of his church who spoke of his helping those with their life problems. We heard from a retired firefighter who told about the compassion Romney showed for their daughter when he reached out to them upon hearing of her death to simply give the family comfort. All this leading up to what the scheduled showed to be “A to be announced speaker”.
Enter center stage … Clint Eastwood. In the greatest of Bob Newhart fashion, he placed on the stage next to the podium an empty chair and told everyone that Obama was sitting there. He then proceeded to carry on a spirited dialogue with the empty chair. He asked the President about breaking all the promises that he had made and told him “We own this country and politicians are our employees”. As you might suspect the delegates were standing and cheering. “I think it’s time for someone else to solve the problem.”, he said. But, perhaps one of his best lines was ”When someone doesn’t do a job, we have to let them go!”, Eastwood told the empty chair. With that, came the chant ”Let him go! Let him go!” I did not see a single delegate who was not deeply engaged with Eastwood’s remarks. Afterwards, I was told by a number of my colleagues that they were rather taken back by his remarks and his entire presentation. I’m certain they felt that way because they were not next to, and among the delegates who all ate up his every word. No Clint Eastwood performance could be complete without the line that he most certainly is best known for …and the Delegates in unison and as Eastwood began to say” Mr. Obama” finished his presentation with …”Make my day!”
Florida’s favorite U.S. Senator Marco Rubio had the privilege of introducing Mitt Romney. His appearance put an exclaimination point on a Spanish – accented convention. A steady stream of Republican Hispanic elected officials told their stories as did Rubio to wildly cheering delegates. His influence and appeal to Hispanic voters is vital in this election and it was apparent with his “Prime Time” remarks targeted to the nation’s wide audience. Unquestionably, his best line of the evening was “Obama is not a bad person. He is a bad President.”
To much fanfare and with great anticipation Mitt Romney entered the convention hall from the very back. He wove his way to the front of the stage, shaking hands, patting backs, giving hugs, and kissing cheeks along the way. His first words – “I accept your nomination for Presidency of the United States”, provided by far the longest and loudest out bursts of the entire convention. Promising a greater vision for the country, he launched what will certainly be the rallying campaign cry “We deserve better”. He blamed Obama for what he called “disappointment and division.” Where others before him attacked, blamed, and mocked Obama’s experience, I found his remarks softened and more of ones of disillusionment. “Hope and change had a powerful appeal”, he said. “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 continued.
His speech was not necessarily one of fire & brimstone, as I suspect we will hear next week in Charlotte. Rather he spoke of American principles, and what many Americans had hoped would have happened after the last election. He painted the bright future we all sought in the promise of change. ”This was the hope and change America voted for. It’s not just what we wanted. It’s not just what we expected. It’s what Americans deserved.” Once again the the chant of USA… USA filled the hall as he struck a nerve. ”President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. And to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your families.” Romney said to still another standing ovation.
Romney concluded his remarks, ”If you elect me President of the United States, I’ll work with all my energy and all my sole to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there, It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it. Our nation depends on it. The peace and freedom of the world requires it. And with your help, we will deliver it! Let us began that future for America tonight!