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Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mitt Romney landed in Tampa, Florida this morning as one of his top advisers downplayed the importance of the party’s national convention, saying he was unsure whether the gathering would prompt a surge of support for the Republican presidential candidate.
“I just think all bets are off about any past performance being a predictor of the future,” chief strategist Stuart Stevens told reporters on Romney’s campaign plane.
After a one-day delay caused by Tropical Storm Isaac, delegates began making their way to the convention hall to begin the process of affirming Romney as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.
Ann Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be the headline speakers tonight as Republicans kick off their shortened three-day convention with the theme “We Built it.”
The made-for-television event has been viewed as an opportunity for each party to make their case to voters who are beginning to pay attention to the presidential race.
Romney’s speech will present a “clear vision” of his presidency, said Stevens, laying out his argument against President Barack Obama, reasons for running, and proposals to improve the U.S. economy.
He also plans to address foreign policy and the tropical storm bearing down on the Gulf Coast in his Aug. 30 appearance before his party delegates. He has been thinking about the speech for months, said Stevens, making notes on broad themes and consulting with advisers and friends across many industries.
Ann Romney confirmed that her husband would attend her speech tonight, saying that he was not initially scheduled to attend. Changes in the schedule because of the storm, she told reporters aboard the campaign plane, made it possible.
Delegates will complete the roll call votes today needed to officially nominate Romney, senior adviser Russ Schriefer told reporters on a conference call.
“Governor Romney will get the 1,144 delegates that are necessary,” Schriefer said. He “will not be nominated, however, until Thursday.” He said a state starting with the letter ’N’ probably would put Romney over the top in the delegate count.
Ann Romney said today that she worked hard to craft her convention remarks.
“I had a lot of input in this, I must say, and a lot of tweaking where I felt like I was getting what I really wanted to say and from my heart,” she said.
Tonight, she said, will be her first experience reading from a prepared text and using a teleprompter.
“I don’t like it,” she said of the teleprompter. “It’s hard, we’ll see how I do.”
--With assistance from Catherine Dodge in Tampa, Florida. Editors: Jeanne Cummings, Jodi Schneider
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