In his speech at the GOP convention, Mitt Romney said that Barack Obama brought a powerful promise of hope but has delivered little as president. Romney also opened up about his faith.
In the most important speech of his political life, Mitt Romney touted his executive experience, his strong family, and a devotion to community born of deep religious faith as he accepted the Republican nomination for president.
Mr. Romney looked back to a more optimistic time – the day nearly four years ago when President Obama was inaugurated, when “hope and change had a powerful appeal.”
“But his promises gave way to disappointment and division,” said Romney, likening Mr. Obama to President Carter, who was defeated in 1980 after one term. “This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. And with your help, we will do something.”
With unemployment stuck at or above 8 percent for the past 42 months, the former governor of Massachusetts promised to create 12 million new jobs in the next four years. Romney outlined a five-step plan to achieve that goal: energy independence by 2020; job training and education; new trade agreements; deficit reduction; and promotion of small business.
Romney also opened up a little about his extended Mormon community in an apparent effort to strike a more personal tone and warm up his image with voters. He has long struggled on “likability” compared with Mr. Obama, who still scores well on that measure despite tepid job approval.
He downplayed his Mormon faith, as it makes some Americans uncomfortable; some evangelicals, a critical element of the Republican base, are outright hostile to his church though increasingly willing to accept that dimension of Romney in the name of defeating Obama. But at this pinnacle of Romney’s five-year quest for the GOP presidential nomination, he sought to make it a positive – the center of tight-knit family life, charity, and community-mindedness.
He spoke of finding kinship “and a wide circle of friends” through his church when he and his wife, Ann, moved to Boston.
“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,” Romney said.
“We prayed together,” he continued, “our kids played together, and we always stood ready to help each other out in different ways.”