Mitt Romney formally accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination tonight, promising to help lift the nation and “restore the promise of America.”
Romney told the crowd in Tampa that “what is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound…What America needs is jobs — lots of jobs.”
Delegate Margaret Stoldorf of Red Oak today said she’s ready to go to work when she gets home from Tampa — to identify Romney voters.
“We have a couple of months to really get people interested and make sure that they vote the right way,” Stoldorf said. “I think this means that we take a look at the voter lists, see who’s not registered, see who votes frequently, find out those who are not inclined to vote and then go speak to those people.”
Romney’s speech was the culmination of a three-day convention that featured movie star Clint Eastwood and star athletes from the 2002 Winter Olympics, an event Romney was called in to rescue. Delegate Bob Anderson of Swisher describes himself as an “enthusiastic supporter” of Mitt Romney and he was thrilled with the speech vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave Wednesday night.
“I thought he was both realistic and motivational and I think he showed that you could be serious about policy questions without having the tone that said, ‘The end is near at any moment,’” Anderson said. “He was telling us we’ve got to address these problems. We’ve got to address them now. They’re nothing to be demagogued. They’re something to be handled with respect, but we’ve got to dig in and do the job.”
Marie Rickert of West Des Moines, an alternate delegate, said Ryan was a “brilliant” pick who lit a spark in the convention.
“I think it shows the wisdom of Romney to pick him. This man is brilliant. I was very, very impressed with him,” Rickert said. “I think we’re in great hands with both of them now. “I think they balance one another.”
At this time a year ago Rickert was intrigued by Herman Cain’s candidacy, but wound up voting for Rick Santorum on Caucus Night.
“My husband’s always been a Mitt Romney guy — and our son (supports Romney). I have no problems supporting Mitt Romney,” Rickert said. “I think we had so many good choices this year.”
Alternate delegate Kurt Whalen of Bettendorf also supported Rick Santorum in the Caucuses. He’s hoping factions in the party unite to help Romney win the White House.
“At our core what we’re really about is…our basic ideology that you know what’s best for you and your family and the other side believes government knows what’s best for you and your family,” Whalen said. “And we can’t advance that cause if we’re fighting amongst ourselves.”
Alternate delegate Lisa Smith of Ottumwa enjoyed the “hard-hitting speeches” during the convention this past week, particularly the one from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“I thought the best line that I heard, and maybe because I come from a family of educators, was about Republicans trusting teachers rather than teachers unions and I know so many teachers in that position where they’re pretty conservative, but they are really afraid to stand up and say that,” Smith said. “I really liked that line and I hope there were people who paid attention to that.”
Some of the delegates at the convention have caught the bug and might run for office themselves.
“My wife’s told me no,” said delegate Jeff Luecke of Dubuque. “I’d love to do more for my country. The thought’s come up, but I don’t know if I’m going to go down that road yet or not. I might just keep working for the candidates that support the values and morals that I believe in.”
Twenty-six-year-old Chelsy Askren of Garnavillo would “entertain the idea” of running for office.
“I really want to make a positive political difference,” she said. “I represent a big conservative group. Sanctity of life is probably the most important value. What good are all of our other inalienable rights without that? I think economically we’re struggling with our foundation right now and I’d like to see that change.”
Romney concluded his speech tonight by saying if he is elected, he “will work with all (his) energy and soul to restore” the country and “lift our eyes to a better future.”