Mitt Romney will say the excitement among Americans when President Barack Obama took office almost four years ago has given way to “disappointment and division.”
“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 will ask delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa tonight as he accepts his party’s presidential nomination, according to excerpts released by his campaign.
“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 will say as he makes his case for his own candidacy.
After spending years chasing his party’s presidential nomination, Romney spent part of the day preparing for the biggest speech of his political career, an address that also aims to give voters a more personal look at him.
Former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush earlier urged Romney to “show his heart.”
“That’s been hard for a guy who’s been brought up, trained, lived his life in a way of great discipline and reserve,” Bush said at a Bloomberg/Washington Post breakfast. “By the way, it’s not a bad thing to be reserved and humble and charitable and disciplined and hard-working.”
Romney is under pressure to show undecided voters more personality and emotion even as fiscal conservatives in his own party say he must better define his plans for reining in the federal budget deficit and improving the economy.
Romney plans to balance a biographic approach with his vision for the country and an ttacking Obama, said Eric Fehrnstrom, a campaign strategist. He also plans to talk about his father, George, a former auto company executive and governor of Michigan, Fehrnstrom said.
“One thing we know about Mitt Romney is that he always rises to the occasion,” Fehrnstrom said.
Romney, who failed in his bid for the party’s 2008 nomination, will be more open about his Mormon faith, according to aides.
Before Romney takes the stage, members of his church are to tell the convention how Romney helped support them during trying times. As a Mormon bishop, Romney counseled many congregants on their toughest decisions, from weighing whether to have an abortion to counseling parents with dying children.
At a lunch today with 800 top donors in nearby St. Petersburg, Romney showed his appreciation for the hundreds of millions they’ve raised for his candidacy.
“I owe so much to all of you for helping make our campaign so successful,” he told fundraisers dining on roast beef.
Earlier, about 120 Romney relatives attending the convention held a family reunion, with the candidate and his wife, Ann, posing for pictures.
“It’s like going to your own funeral,” Ann Romney told donors this morning. “Everyone that has ever been associated with you, that has ever known you in your life, you see. They’re all there.”
Part of tonight’s agenda will spotlight Romney’s career in the private sector, including his time as head of Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, with a film about Indiana- based Steel Dynamics, a Bain investment.
Attacks on Bain
Obama and allied political action committees have attacked Romney over his work at Bain, linking him to job layoffs and outsourcing by companies that the firm invested in.
Romney’s campaign unveiled a new website today, SterlingBusinessCareer.com, designed to paint a positive picture of his business experience. The site features testimonials from former executives of Staples Inc. and Brookstone Inc., among other companies.
Tonight’s speakers also will tout Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts and former Olympians will highlight his role overseeing the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, will campaign together tomorrow, with appearances in Florida and Virginia, two of the election’s most crucial swing states.
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