TAMPA---Republicans stormed into Florida hoping for more than just getting stormed out. After abbreviating their convention by a day to avoid complications with Tropical Storm Isaac, the GOP put together a full slate of party building and partying. Here are five key takeaways from the festivities.
Mitt the man
Ann Romney kicked off the convention with her prime time speech about her love for her husband, Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. She made a direct appeal to women voters, telling them she was "singing their praises." But the main thrust of her widely praised Tuesday night address was to let voters know who her husband is behind the scenes—someone who makes her laugh and someone always willing to help out a friend. Her closing pitch was that America could trust her husband to guide them out of the economic turmoil that has plagued the country for the last five years.
The GOP has gone out of its way to elevate top elected officials and respected party leaders who are also minorities during the convention. From Hispanic governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica and Utah congressional candidate Mia Love, the minority speakers highlighted the importance of personal responsibility and the ability to pursue the American dream. But beyond making broad economic appeals to attract minority voters, the convention was short on specific ideas that might draw support to Romney.
If there was one theme that carried through each and every speaker during the convention it was competency. From his wildly successful business career, to his role leading the turnaround of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, to his term as governor of Massachusetts, each speaker had ample fodder—and used it—to depict Romney as a problem solver with a knack for success. Where President Barack Obama is incompetent and over his head, Romney is Mr. Fix It.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul
The Lone Star State congressman who inspired fervent support from libertarians across the country wasn't allowed to speak during the festivities, but his legion of fans would not be silenced. From an unruly band of disgruntled Maine delegates denied floor seats through procedural wrangling to the loyal Texans who joined them for an impromptu hallway march on Wednesday night, the Paul-ites exposed a real crack in the Republican Party.
More than support for the nominated candidate, it was anger and disappointment with the Obama administration that united the thousands of delegates gathered here. From the looping video of Obama saying "you didn't build that" to knocks on the president's supposed apologetic approach to foreign policy to his alleged raiding of Medicare to stripping away the work requirements for welfare, resentment emanated from both speakers addressing the crowd to the delegates on the floor.