Mitt Romney vows to restore America's promise

 

Mitt Romney: "I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed"

Mitt Romney has pledged "to restore the promise of America", as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Florida.

Mr Romney accused President Barack Obama of failing to deliver on his promises and presented his plan involving energy independence, cutting the budget deficit and creating jobs.

He also spoke of his Mormon faith.

The Obama campaign said Mr Romney had "no tangible ideas" and "would take our country backwards".

Mr Romney will challenge the Democratic president in November's election.

His speech was the climax of the three-day Republican convention, which correspondents saw as an attempt to show the human side of a candidate who is sometimes accused of being opaque and distant.

On Friday Mr Romney will visit Louisiana to tour areas damaged by Hurricane Isaac. He will visit LaFitte, some 16 miles (25km) from New Orleans, and a local command centre.

He will miss pre-planned campaign events in Florida and in Virginia to make time for his detour to the storm zone.

Family guy

Mr Romney began the most important speech of his political career by accepting the nomination that he was overwhelmingly awarded on Tuesday by thousands of delegates at the gala in Tampa.

It secured him the position that eluded him in his first presidential bid in 2008, when Arizona Senator John McCain became the Republican nominee.

Start Quote

His speech set out to be a subtle and ambitious construct but came over as sometimes flat. It wasn't enthralling but it did the job”

End Quote

"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," Mr Romney said, in a speech that was watched by millions across the US.

Instead he told his audience: "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."

And he pledged to do things differently: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise... is to help you and your family."

The 65-year-old presidential nominee recounted details of his Mormon upbringing, with anecdotes about his family life and his parents' loving marriage.

Mr Romney talked about his own experiences as a father, apparently becoming emotional as he talked about the times when he and his wife Ann would wake up to find "a pile of kids asleep in our room".

'No apology'

Mr Romney vowed to create 12 million American jobs over the next four years and turn around an economy saddled with an 8.3% unemployment rate.

He also pledged to make the US energy independent by 2020, cut the national deficit and negotiate new trade agreements.

"I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began his presidency with an apology tour," he said.

He accused the president of having "thrown allies like Israel under the bus", while being too lenient with Iran.

"Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty and Mr Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone," Mr Romney said.

He brought the crowd to its feet when he pledged to repeal Mr Obama's signature healthcare bill.

US media reaction

The Washington Post's Jonathan Bernstein writes of "a generic speech and a generic convention for a generic Republican candidate", adding that "everything in it was perfunctory".

The Boston Globe describes the speech as "less of an emphatic statement of purpose than a direct challenge to President Obama". The ball is now firmly in Mr Obama's court and he will have a chance to return the volley next week, the editorial says.

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg says Mr Romney worked hard to show he had a heart but still has to convince many Americans that Mr Obama's presidency did not work, and to let go of him and move on.

"Romney is very effective at puncturing Obama's grandiosity. If he does it half as well in person, the debates will be a blast," writes the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto.

Fox News' Douglas Schoen says that while Mr Romney's speech did not close the deal, he took a "giant step forward" and his speech began the process of "humanising" him.

The event ended with the entire Romney family - his wife, five sons and their wives and most of his 18 grandchildren - on stage with him as thousands of balloons were released over the convention floor.

Republicans at the convention said they were confident of victory after the speech.

"It's been great. It's fired us up. We're going forward. We're going to make it happen," one delegate told the BBC.

"This is just the cherry on the whipped cream, on the ice cream, and we're going to win in November, and there's no stopping it now. This is the wind that's going to blow us into office," said another.

But Mr Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina said the address contained little substance.

"Much like the entire Republican Convention, Mitt Romney's speech tonight offered many personal attacks and gauzy platitudes, but no tangible ideas to move the country forward," he said.

"What he didn't share were his actual proposals, which would take our country backwards."

Attendees in tears

Appearing on stage earlier to pledge his support for Mr Romney, Hollywood star Clint Eastwood raised eyebrows with an off-the-cuff monologue to an imaginary Mr Obama in an empty chair.

Referring to the president, the actor told a rapturous audience: "When somebody does not do the job, you've got to let 'em go."

Marco Rubio said "hope and change has become divide and conquer"

Democrats have sought to depict Mr Romney as a wealthy, elitist, tax-dodging, corporate raider and policy chameleon. Low favourability ratings have dogged him throughout his campaign and he trails Mr Obama in likeability.

To counter that image, the convention heard emotional testimonials about Mr Romney's work as a Mormon leader that left some attendees in tears.

One couple talked of how Mr Romney had befriended and comforted their dying teenage son.

A woman recalled how the Republican's "eyes filled with tears" when her premature baby daughter was close to death in hospital.

On Wednesday, Mr Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, pledged a "turnaround" for America, while attacking Mr Obama.

But fact-checkers said there were a number of inaccuracies in the Wisconsin congressman's address.

The job of softening Mr Romney's edges also fell to his wife, who brought down the house on Tuesday with a speech about their high-school romance.

 

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 673.

    Obama has 186 electral collage votes in the bag and Romney has 200 with 161 up for grabs from the swing states, according to the BBC.
    Also, I heard on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that it was likely just 5 million American voters in those swing states will decide who will win the presidential election.

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 672.

    @ 671. Mike

    The president does not create jobs nor does he control the economy. (We Americans need to remember how our government works!) Even if he did, four years is not nearly enough time to turn around the crisis we face. He's the president - not a magic genie.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 610.

    `Restore the promise of America´. What is this nonsense?
    What is this promise?
    Who made it? The United States?
    You cannot restore a promise You can only fulfil it (or not). You restore old furniture (to its original state).

    I had hoped the the U.S. would have an articulate president.
    Or is it really the intention that each person understands what he wants to, therefore everyone is satisfied?

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 563.

    I am a registered Democrat and have been all my adult life. Electing Obama was electing a dream. That dream was not real and as with all dreams it is now time to wake up and go to work.

  • rate this
    +47

    Comment number 379.

    What the Republicans vilify as 'Obamacare' is vital for that nation to establish a system where everyone can get affordable health insurance. Though Obama has not been the success many people hoped for, when it comes to the US economy it is in a better state than pro-austerity ones.

    Running a country is NOT like running a business; you cannot choose to market yourself to one group of people!

 

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