Richard Adams - As the balloons slowly fall from the ceiling here, it’s clear that this speech was something of a bust. Romney began brightly, with some telling biographical snippets, but the meat of the speech wasn’t far removed from his standard stump speech. Once again, Mitt Romney proves to be his own worst advocate.
As if to make a point about the lack of enthusiasm, even as the balloons fell down more than a few delegates remained in their seats, as the Romney and Ryan families paraded on stage.
I’m not sure there’s a single thing in that speech that you can point to as telling. There was the line about people not being as excited about Obama as the day he was elected, but that’s hardly a compelling argument to vote for Mitt Romney is it?
There were times during this convention that Romney came close to breaking through, when people talked about his can-do spirit and his unquenchable work ethic. But Romney himself can’t seem to metaphorically roll up his sleeves in front of us.
People on the floor seem happy. But hardly overjoyed. And if the most Republican diehards in America don’t feel that way, what chance for the rest of the electorate.
And to drain the last drop of excitement: here’s John Boehner to close the convention.
In conclusion: Marco Rubio in 2016. Good night from Tampa.
Ewen Macaskill has this take on Romney's performance:
The speech presented a huge challenge for a candidate who has a reputation for poor oratorical skills and an inability to connect with the public. But he did just enough. He managed to get through it without mishap but also without any passion. While the delegates dutifully cheered as thousands of balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling at the end of the speech, it fell far short of the raucousness and excitement at the end of the 2008 convention. In the end, his delivery was pedestrian.
Paul Harris has some post-speech reaction from the watch party in St Petersburg, Florida:
At the convention watch party in St Petersburg, hosted by South Florida University, self-described “very conservative" student Jonathan Cannatello, 21, said the speech had helped solidify his support for Mitt Romney.
“I thought that it was strong. I was expecting a more boring speech, especially from him, but I thought it was good,” Canatello said. He added that he was pleased the Romney had included specific policy details as well as more biographical information to flesh him out as a person. “I am very conservative so I would vote for him anyway probably, but I feel much more secure in that now. I enjoyed it,” he said.
Meanwhile a watching independent voter, writer Keith Houser, 30, said that he disliked the speech. “I expected a lot of political banalities and that’s what we got,” he said. He said he would not be voting for Romney in November’s election but that he also remained unimpressed by President Barack Obama.
“I don’t know for sure what I will do. I will be researching third parties and taking a look at that,” he said.
Richard – Romney is now rattling through his “five point plan” to create 12m new jobs. Sounds great, right? Except none of the points would create a single job for several years, or are so vague and ill-defined that they might not create a jot of a job. Oh, except the trade war with China that he hints at - “And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences” - that will actually cost jobs. So, meh.
And from there we are on to foreign policy. Romney actually offers a sliver of the faintest of faint praise: “Every American was relieved the day President Obama gave the order, and Seal Team Six took out Osama bin Laden.”
But then it’s headlong into sabre-rattling - and Mitt Romney wants to get tough with Russia. Russia! “Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.” Yeah, those Russians.
What is this, 1982?
Mitt Romney delivers his nomination acceptance speech. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland on Romney so far:
He was clearly emotional when speaking about his parents and his children, his eyes moist. But I wonder if his delivery is just too mechanical, too two-dimensional to connect. This speech is nowhere near as well-written as Ryan's.
Richard - Romney’s basic pitch is: Barack Obama has been rubbish, vote for me. That’s pretty much it. Or as Mitt puts it:
"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?' 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."
What about the day Obama announced they’d got Osama bin Laden? That was pretty awesome.
Adam – "In America we celebrate success, we don't apologise for success," Romney says, although that line in itself is a defence of his vast wealth.
Romney then paints a utopian vision of America should he get elected. He promises a future where "everyone who wants a job can find a job", and "where every parent knows their child can get an education that enables them to get a good job".
He doesn't say how he'll do it, but my God it'll be good when it happens.
Adam - "You know there's something kind of wrong with the job [Obama] has done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him," says Romney, to a roomful of people who did not vote for him.
Richard – Mitt’s now moved on to his “I love women” phase of the speech. But abruptly he goes straight from the general awesomeness of women to the fact that he was “a car guy”. Mmm?
So Mitt says that Ann’s “job as a mom was a lot harder than mine, and I knew that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine”. So why didn’t you stay home and help her then instead of going on all those business trips you’ve just told us about, if it was so hard and important?
Richard - Mitt Romney really does like America, which is just great. Oh dear, the Associated Press is reporting that behind the scenes, “stern-faced Romney aides winced at times as Eastwood’s remarks stretched on”. They weren’t alone.
Adam – not much is going right for Mitt at the moment is it? The first day of the convention cancelled by Isaac, a well-noted lacklustre feel to the convention as a whole, and now it seems some protesters have got onto the delegates floor. (God knows how, security is intense).
Richard - “Mr Chairman and delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States,” says Mitt when he reaches the podium. He appears to be shedding a few tears and his eyes are quite red.
Mitt Romney greets supporters as he enters to deliver his nomination acceptance speech. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Adam – "I am proud to introduce to you, the next president of the United States, Mitt Romney!" declares Rubio.
And by jove here he is! Romney emerges onto the delegate floor, rather than onto the stage, and slowly makes his way towards the stage, exchanging hugs and handshakes with anybody who'll have them. Everybody really likes him, ok?
Richard - What’s this, Marco Rubio?
That's not just my story. That's our story. It's the story of your mother who struggled to give you what she never had. It's the story of your father who worked two jobs so doors closed for him would open for you. The story of that teacher or that coach who taught you the lessons that shaped who you are today.
In other words... you didn’t build that?
That aside, this is a riveting speech by Rubio, easily the best of the conference, and he finishes by saying that future Americans will remember the election of President Romney as having saved the country.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland agrees: “This has the hall mesmerised: it may be a very hard act for Romney to follow.”
Richard - “For most of history, almost everyone was poor,” Marco Rubio tells us. I hate to break it to you Marco but that is still the case, although you’d never know it in this hall. The city of Tampa, however, has one of the worst homeless rates in the United States. Perhaps the delegates might see some of them from the window of their bus on the way back to their hotel tonight?
Rubio also uses the theme that Ryan used last night: “You studied hard and finished school. But now, you owe thousands of dollars in student loans. You can’t find a job in your field. And you’ve moved back in with your parents.”
The Florida senator gets a rousing standing ovation with this:
"I remembered my father who had worked so long as a banquet bartender. He was grateful for the work he had, but that’s not the life he wanted for us. He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room."
Richard – Now we can see why Marco Rubio was held back for tonight’s introduction. He’s easily the best speaker of the night and possibly the best of the conference (unless Mitt Romney really changes the habits of a lifetime and has suddenly morphed into Cicero).
His delivery is strong and confident. Jonathan Freedland texts to say that Rubio has a touch of the Bobby Kennedy about him, and he’s got a point.
Speaking about Obama, Rubio delivers the line that sums up the Romney strategy: “Our problem is not that he’s a bad person. Our problem is that he’s a bad president.”
Senator Marco 'I just drank Clint Eastwood's water' Rubio. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Richard - Nearly there now: it’s Marco Rubio, who will be introducing Mitt Romney, but who starts off talking about “a country a few hundred miles away from this city,” Cuba. “There’s no freedom in Cuba,” says Rubio. No? What about Guantanamo? Hmm, guess not.
"Don't let actors or directors loose in politics," says Ewen Macaskill.
Rambling, garbled, confused speech at the podium by Clint Eastwood. He berated Obama for not learning from the Russian experience in invading Afghanistan. It was Bush who ordered US troops into Afghanistan. But the convention loved it anyway, cheering him throughout.
Richard - They couldn’t get Ronald Reagan, him being dead and all, but they got the next best thing in terms of elderly actors in Clint Eastwood, who put together an addressing-an-empty-chair bit, the joke being that President Obama is “in the chair”.
Bizarrely, Clint carped on about the Obama administration’s various failures, one being the war in Afghanistan, with Eastwood castigating Obama for not asking the Russians how they got on in Afghanistan. Er, now then, who started that particular war? I know it’s hard to keep up but seriously Clint.
The crowd is loving Clint’s fairly mild knock-about comedy but it may not work on television. Jonathan Freedland agrees: “Not sure this Clint Eastwood skit is working. As an opener of the primetime hour, it might look weird and confusing.”
Adam – Clint Eastwood! Here! In Tampa! Applause, cheers, whoops!
"Save a little for Mitt," Clint says. It's a little downhill from there though as he starts starts mumbling about liberals and then begins addressing an empty chair to his left as "Mr President". Is this endorsement backfiring already?
Actor Clint Eastwood takes the stage to endorse Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Photograph: mike
Adam - we're getting a video about Mitt which features real-life Romney home footage. It's very sweet. Lots more about those five Romney boys and how rambunctious they were – "You boys!" - and touching sentiment on how Mitt and Ann got through her breast cancer diagnosis.
Richard – then all of a sudden we’re into more about Staples. Making this feel like one of those ads for private banking on US television that ends with some line like “Passing your wealth on to the next generation: TD Ameritrade Wealth Management.”
Richard - So, what’s the atmosphere like tonight here at the RNC? Streets ahead of last night and the two hour dullathon we all had to endure before Condi brought the house down. But don’t get the idea this is a crowd pulsating with energy and enthusiasm, it’s still more sedate than that.
The themes being pushed are that if the United States was a big Olympics, then Mitt would do a fantastic job running it. Also, if America was a start-up, Mitt would ring you up at 6am badgering you and help out stocking the shelves, interspersed with pep talks and chats.
But at least tonight the forum is pretty much full - even last night when Paul Ryan was speaking there were big chunks of empty seats in the upper tier.
Down on the floor, Ewen Macaskill has reached similar conclusions.
The atmosphere at the convention on Wednesday night at the convention was extremely subdued until late on when former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice brought delegates to the floor. It is the same again tonight. The place is more crowded but not yet full, with delegates and reporters still being allowed access to the floor.
As on Wednesday night, delegates are wandering about, not paying much attention to the string of speakers on the platform. There have been Mormon church members, Romney's business colleagues, politicians such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, even Olympians.
Maybe it does not matter much until 10pm when prime time television kicks in. Maybe one of the warm-up acts, Maro Rubio, the Florida speaker and Tea Party favourite, will get them going. Or, more likely, mystery speaker Clint Eastwood.
Richard here. According to one of the Olympians, Mitt Romney saved the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from September 11. This seems a little bit of a stretch, although I recall people being rightly worried about an al-Qaida attack at the time.
Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland is down on the floor and has found a pile of “hand-made” signs painted with the slogan “We need a turnaround,” ready to appear spontaneously when Mitt takes the stage.
Did you know Mitt Romney saved the Utah Winter Olympics? I think he mentioned it once or twice?
Now you do! There's a whole load/squad of US Olympic athletes on stage at the convention, which is quite bewildering to a non-American and non-follower of winter sports. One of them, a man, is speaking about Mitt.
"Mitt Romney's vision and commitment got the games back on track and gave me the opportunity to realise my athletic dream," he says.
Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton (front) and other US Olympians gather onstage to endorse Mitt Romney. Photograph: Mike Segar
Richard here – we're getting another tribute to The Awesomeness Of Mitt, this time from his former deputy governor, Kerry Healey.
"You may not know this but Mitt Romney never took a salary as governor [of Massachusetts]," says Healey. Well let's assume that $250m in the bank in the Cayman Islands was some small compensation.
Again with the John and Abigail Adams scholarship awards, which Mitt
started as governor, and it must be some sort of super-amazing thing
because it's got more numerous mentions here at the RNC than the
following things: Romneycare, George W Bush, Dick Cheney, the US
military in Afghanistan.
Former Lt Governor of Massachusetts Kerry Healey waves as she walks on stage during the Republican National Convention. Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP
Ed. note/ringing endorsement alert: ex Massachusetts high school student and Guardian subeditor Maraithe here in the New York office to say that the John and Abigail Adams scholarships ARE in fact amazing, and I got one (!) that would have let me go to state college for mere pennies. But I, uh, didn't. But I could have!
Our Ewen MacAskill has more on what's behind all those sparkly signs on the RNC floor:
There are loyalists at the convention too, as well as Repubican dissenters. Claire Buchan, 50, a delegate and a life-long Republican from Washington, DC, is looking to Romney to share details of his life with the convention.
“We heard a bit of his story from his wife. The convention loved hearing from her and want to get it from him directly. I think there are aspects of his life (his Mormonism and his record at Bain Capital) that people in the hall and across the country need to hear from him directly.”
Buchan, a public relations consultant said: “I do not know much about Mormonism and look forward to hearing him talking about it. He is leader in his church and faith is important to him.”
Richard Adams again here in the hall. Just when you might have been feeling more sympathetic towards Mitt Romney, in comes Tom Stemberg, the actual founder of Staples, which was funded in part by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital.
"Imagine my dismay," says Stemberg, "When I see this White House and
their campaign demonising Mitt Romney. Demonising Bain Capital.
Demonising the private equity industry that created so many new jobs.
Over and over again, fiction, half-truths, down-right lies."
Never mind that it was Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry who started all
this with attacks on Bain Capital and vulture capitalism.
The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland has a similar thought: "Now on the case for Bain: much more difficult. Yes, there are success stories, like Staples, but this invites the question: what about the companies Bain took over, gutted and closed?"
Founder of Staples Tom Stemberg speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
The Guardian's Ewen Macaskill has been mingling on the floor of the convention, where he's been chatting to some people who are yet to become full Romney converts.
Don’t be misled by the cheering, raucous, placard-waving crowd when Romney completes his speech, some of the delegates, unimpressed with the presidential nominee, are warning.
Shawn McAnelly, 39, a delegate from Texas, standing on the floor with the rest of the state’s delegates, said he will not be among those cheering for him. He agreed with another Texas delegate standing next to him who estimated that about a third of Republicans in the hall do not really want Romney. McAnelly hastily added that, in spite of that, they would still vote for him because the alternative was worse, Barack Obama.
McAnelly, an oil worker from Yancey, Texas, was unimpressed too with the build-up of Romney at the convention, dismissing it as “superficial”.
McAnelly, who was wearing a large white cowboy hat, as were almost all the other large bloc of delegates from Texas, views Romney as a flip-flopper on guns, abortion and health care, and dislikes the internal party rules changes earlier this week that saw the Maine delegation, dominated by Ron Paul supporters, lose half their votes.
“I am not impressed with Romney. He is controlled by the establishment,” he said.
This is from the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland, who is here in the
hall at the RNC:
Not sure how many people are watching in these non-primetime hours, but these testimonials from personal friends are very powerful. Two families with sick children who were helped by Romney and whose stories of hospital visits and Thanksgiving meals delivered are clearly genuine. They cut against the image of Romney as a heartless plutocrat entirely: the only question is whether anyone outside the hall is listening.
Richard Adams here in the hall: So we're getting a string of speakers here tonight giving another side of Mitt Romney, both Romney the businessman and Romney the neighbour and pastor.
Just now there was Pam Finlayson with an incredibly powerful story about Mitt Romney's help to her and her family with a sick child, of Romney praying and even providing the family with a Thanksgiving turkey.
This is exactly what Romney needs.
Cheryl Howell, a delegate from North Branch, Michigan, wipes tears from her eyes. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters
So we're definitely getting a full briefing on Mitt Romney's faith tonight, as expected. The campaign is having friends line-up to speak about his religion, with little mention of actual Mormonism but lots of tales of do-goodery. The extracts of Romney's speech released earlier showed only a couple of paragraphs on faith, but there could be more.
This week, as Republicans gather in Tampa, Florida, to formally nominate Romney as their candidate for the White House, he will publicly embrace his religion. A Mormon bishop will perform the opening invocation on Thursday, the day of Romney's speech, and campaign officials have hinted that he will talk openly about his Mormonism.
In a recent Washington Post column Michael Gerson argued that given Romney's performance so far, the downsides aren't that great. "Take away Romney's religion and you are left with Harvard, Bain and various corporate boardrooms," he wrote.
"Mormonism has been one of the main stages for his leadership, as well as the main setting where he has displayed humanity. … Mormonism is the reason for Romney's rectitude, the explanation for his wholesomeness, the key to understanding his persona. Without it, he would merely be a stiff, able management consultant. Romney's reticence on religion leaves a large personal and biographical gap."
More from Guardian correspondent Paul Harris in St Petersburg, Florida:
At the convention watch party in St. Petersburg, being hosted by the University of South Florida, several Republicans in the crowd watched Jeb Bush speak and then looked forward to the Romney speech.
Camilla and Mike Geisel – a married couple – admitted that they were unusual in being young students who had resisted the lure of President Barack Obama in 2008 and both voted for his opponent John McCain. Camilla Geisel wondered if Romney would speak on women’s issues, but suspected that he would avoid the hot button social topic that dominated negative coverage of the Tampa convention in the lead-up to
“I keeping hearing about the party and birth control. I want to hear him weigh in,” she said. Her husband added that he did
not care for the pre-speech hype that had advocated Romney needed to project a warmer, more personable image to win people over. “I would be more likely to vote for a non-charismatic person. I don’t like the show of politics,” he said.
However, Chelsea Gonzalez, a political science student who also voted for McCain in 2008, was a Republican who wanted a little warmth from Romney. “We want a charismatic leader. That helps with me,” she said. She added that she was pro-choice – a rarity in the Republican party – and the debate over women’s issues had almost put her “on the fence” in the coming election.
"I think abortion should be a woman's choice," she said.
Meanwhile, Judithanne McLauchlan, a politics professor at the University of South Florida, said the Romney speech was likely to be a mix of positive image-building and negative attacks on Obama. “If he wants to get swing voters he is going to have to not just criticise but show us a vision for the future,” she said.
This is Adam Gabbatt taking over from our young buck Richard Adams, who is having connection problems in the convention hall. I'll be live blogging from the nearby media center, getting increasingly annoyed by a woman on the phone next to me, with Richard and the rest of our team in the Tampa Bay Times Forum chipping in context and analysis.
Right now we're having a musical interlude. Later, DIRTY HARRY!
The Guardian's Ewen MacAskill has more on Newt's convention contribution:
Newt’s love for wife Callista knows no bounds. Not only was he prepared to give up his former wife for her, he was even prepared to share the platform at the Republican party convention. Greater love has no man than to lay down his prized convention appearance.
The result was one of the oddest appearances in convention history, a rare double-act, taking turn about to read sentences from the teleprompter.
Newt: “Obama’s proud of what he’s done and of his politically motivated partisanship, but he should be ashamed for putting politics before people.”
Callista: “Governor Romney will return America to work and to the principles that are at the core of president Reagan’s legacy.”
Newt: “Now each of us must commit ourselves in the tradition of Ronald Reagan to come together. President Reagan said: ‘There is no substitute for victory.’ And this November, we cannot settle for anything less.”
Whenever Callista spoke, Newt looked on proudly.
The happy couple: Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich speak while Ronald Reagan looks on. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
So here we are live in the Tampa Times Forum, home of the RNC for one final night.
After the usual national anthem and so on, the delegates and the lucky, lucky viewers around the world were treated to the sight of Newt Gingrich and his current wife, Callista.
They spoke in a bizarre, one sentence apiece address, during which time Newt managed to repeat one of the standard Republican lies-cum-talking points, that Barack Obama has somehow "gutted" the welfare reforms of St Ronald Reagan. None of which is true, but there we go.
Our correspondent Paul Harris is at a University of South Florida viewing party up the road in St Petersberg. He writes:
A group of Republicans are gathering in a hall just off the campus of South Florida University in St Petersburg. The gathering also includes local academics and foreign students and even Democrats who have gathered to watch Romney speak.
Sandwiches are being served and the speeches shown on a big screen. But no one is paying attention as Newt Gingrich speaks at the Tampa convention because local Republican members have muted the sound to have a discussion about their own views on what Mitt Romney might say this evening.
While we wait for proceedings to kick off tonight, my colleague Adam Gabbatt is back down on the convention floor, talking to the delegates.
Just had an interesting chat with California delegate Betty Boney about the Obama "you didn't build that" line which has been banded about all week here in Tampa, often with the quote taken out of context.
"My family has a 3rd generation grocery business. For Obama to say we didn't build that... We did build that," she said.
Boney said she had heard the full Obama speech where he made the remarks, which is interesting as it seems Romney's team doesn't necessarily need to be selectively clipping the audio as they have been.
Boney was instead taking umbrage with Obama's argument that government has a hand in any success - whethe it e from building roads, keeping property safe or what have you.
"What comes first, the chicken or the egg?," she said. "What came first, the business that pays to build the roads or the roads? The business that pays for the colleges or the colleges?"
The Romney campaign has released selecetd highlights of Mitt Romney's speech to the RNC tonight:
Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than divides us.
When that hard fought election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have – optimistic and positive and confident in the future.
That very optimism is uniquely American.
It is what brought us to America. We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.
They came not just in pursuit of the riches of this world but for the richness of this life.
Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get ahead a little more, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom who’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or charity.
Every small business wanted these to be their best years ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard times, open a new store or sponsor that Little League team.
Every new college graduate thought they'd have a good job by now, a place of their own, and that they could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.
This is when our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits.
This was the hope and change America voted for.
I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something.
Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, “I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!”
So here we stand. Americans have a choice. A decision.
To make that choice, you need to know more about me and about where I will lead our country.
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.
Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family – and God’s love– this world would be a far more gentle and better place.
My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?”
I wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.
Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved to town or just joined our church. We had remarkably vibrant and diverse congregations of all walks of life and many who were new to America. We prayed together, our kids played together and we always stood ready to help each other out in different ways.
And that’s how it is in America. We look to our communities, our faiths, our families for our joy, our support, in good times and bad. It is both how we live our lives and why we live our lives. The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, our faiths.
When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.
So some of us had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice.
That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story. Some of the companies we helped start are names you know. An office supply company called Staples – where I'm pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping; The Sports Authority, which became a favorite of my sons. We started an early childhood learning center called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised. At a time when nobody thought we'd ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and built one in a corn field in Indiana. Today Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States.
But for too many Americans, these good days are harder to come by. How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?
Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal. But 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? 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.
Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us.
To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations.
To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be.
Now is the time to restore the Promise of America. Many Americans have given up on this president but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.
What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn't take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.
What America needs is jobs.
Lots of jobs.
To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right.
I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement. An America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads them to a good job and a bright horizon.
And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has 5 steps.
First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.
Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.
Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.
Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.
And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.
President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. MY promise...is to help you and your family.
We will honor America’s democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman, and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.
The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.
Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the UNITED States of America.
That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother's confidence that their children's future is brighter even than the past.
That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.
That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our constitution.
That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.
That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.
If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.
Mitt Romney walks the floor during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
There's been some serious fact-checking of Paul Ryan's speech last night, with the conclusion largely being that if Ryan was any more crooked, Paul Ryan would have to screw on his trousers in the morning.
The political blogosphere has taken apart Ryan’s brazendishonesty brick by brick so that barely anything remains. I have been writing about his dishonesty for three years. I have the equivalent of a master’s degree in Ryan lie-ology. I’ve heard many of his lurid fantasies innumerable times and I haven’t got it in me to go through it all again — his deep dishonesty largely reflects the fundamental gap between the radicalism of his agenda and his need for public acceptance. I’ll merely point out that, even if all the smaller component dishonesties of Ryan’s speech were true, the larger points they undergirded were false as well.
Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan accepts the nomination at the Republican national convention. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters
All told, just over 20 million people were watching last night on the Nielsen-rated networks, compared to 37 million for night two of the RNC in 2008. Night one of the 2012 RNC was roughly on par with night one of the 2008 RNC ratings-wise, making the gap all the more dramatic.
So it's true what they say about Paul Ryan: he's no Sarah Palin.
Nobody at the RNC has even mentioned the words Bain Capitalanywhere near primetime in Tampa this week. All that is about to change as the Romney Bain Capital counterattack begins.
Mitt Romney's YouTube channel has just posted nine - nine! - video testimonies of how totally awesome Bain Capital and Mitt Romney are. It includes the actual founders of Staples, who say that Mitt Romney invented the Post-It Note.
FACT CHECK: Did Mitt and Ann Romney eat nothing but Post-It Notes and tuna for dinner in the difficult early years? Our verdict: Three Pinocchios and a Copyright Takedown Notice from the Disney Corporation legal department
Topics we'll cover: what have been the key moments in this convention so far? And what will (or should) GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney say in his speech to end the convention on a high note for his party? Who among the GOP-faithful attended the convention - and who stayed home? And what, exactly, are 15,000 journalists doing to occupy their time in Tampa?
We'll broadcast live in the US Politics Live blog Thursday and will be hanging out until 5.30 pm ET. You'll also be able to view the hangout on the Guardian's YouTube hangout channel here.
The Guardian's Ewen MacAskill talks to the Romney campaign and hears their Mitt Romney's strategy tonight: tackle his twin albatrosses (as they see it) of Bain Capital and religion:
Republican party strategists said the main aim of the final day of the convention was to try and reverse the negative perception not only in relation to his Mormonism, but his image as a rich, uncaring businessman.
Over the past few months, the Obama campaign has sunk $120m in ads that portrayed Romney as a out of touch elitist with questionable tax practices who made his fortune by shutting down businesses and leaving thousands of workers redundant.
Mormonism is an especially sensitive issue, with many Christian evangelicals still queasy about the prospect of backing a candidate whose religion some have described as a cult. Instead of ignoring the issue as in the past, theRepublicans have decided to address it head on at the convention.
The mystery appearance of Clint Eastwood tonight explains the lack of attacks on Hollywood at this convention, usually a staple of GOP public speakers.
With perfect timing, the Guardian's Paul Harris examines the right-wing film industry on display here at the RNC in Tampa:
At the so-called "Liberty Plaza" site conservative production firm Citizens United has been showcasing a half dozen of its movies. On Wednesday Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann introduced a film called Occupy Unmasked there. “I am thrilled to be here,” Bachmann told the crowd to a standing ovation. The film, which profiles the leftist Occupy protest movement as a dangerous violent threat to
America, has already struck a distribution deal with Magnolia Films and will hit theatres on September 21.
But Occupy Unmasked is just one Citizens United title being shown in Tampa. Others include The Hope and the Change, which profiles disillusioned people who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008. It will be shown on US television in September. There is another on the constitution, one on abortion, another on the financial crisis and a lengthy feature on leading conservative women.
Mitt Romney stands before the Republican National Convention in Tampa tonight and walks into history with his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination.
It's a key moment of the 2012 election campaign and a crucial moment for Romney's presidential hopes. How well he performs tonight will determine if the RNC gives him a bump or a bummer.
The Guardian has a crack team of journalists on hand to chew over and spit out the news as soon as it happens today, mainly because they want to leave Tampa as quickly as possible.
So stayed tuned: the convention proper gets underway at 7pm ET (12 midnight in Europe), with Romney himself scheduled to speak after 10pm ET (3am in the UK, sorry British people but you are not a key demographic. Hey, you had your chance to be the 51st state.)
We'll be live blogging it all here and fact-checking every single detail, in the wake of Paul Ryan's nursery rhyme of a speech last night:
FACT CHECK: Mitt Romney, is that his real name? Our Verdict: Pants On Fire!
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